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PORTUGUESE PRIME MINISTER ANTÓNIO GUTERRES SAYS MACAU CAN BE A BRIDGE BETWEEN EUROPE AND ASIA
      Portuguese Prime Minister António Guterres told a seminar at the World Trade Center Macau on 18 April that Portugual and China should use Macau as a springboard for developing inter-regional economic co-operation between Europe and Asia.  
 
  
Gen. Vasco Rocha Vieira and Prime Minister Guterres outside WTC Building

     Without exaggerated megalomania but with realism we can give Macau a vocation, a role and a significant development perspective, taking into account that inter-regional co-operation between Europe and Asia is unstoppable." Mr Guterres said. 
     The Portuguese Prime Minister was speaking of the cuff when he made the remarks at the closing session of an economic seminar held by Portugal's Investments, Trade and Tourism Promotion office, ICEP, at 

António Guterres (Left) and Vitor Pessoa (right).
The Portuguese Economic Affairs Minister Pina Moura expresses his views on Macau's business development.

the World Trade Center Macau on 18 April. 
      Mr Guterres stressed that inter-regional co-operation between Europe and Asia was "indispensable" to offset an "excessive hegemony that the United States has in the world's economic relations." 
      "This type  of economic co-operation between Europe and Asia will certainly have China as its main focal point and China could use Macau as one of the vectors of its development and its (commercial) exchanges," Mr Guterres said, emphasizing that Portugal was one of the perspective's advocates within the ambit of the European Union.   
      According to the Prime Minister's perspective, Macau "can be one of the important contact points for European and Asian businesses and Portuguese and Chinese business". 
     Mr Guterres and his entourage of about 150 government officials, among them six cabinet ministers, Portuguese businessmen and journalists paid a three-day visit to Macau on 17-19 April, en route to an official visit to China for top-level talks in Beijing. 
     Macau reverts to Chinese administration at midnight on 19 December 1999. Mr Guerres said that it was "very important" that Macau's transition process towards its reversion to China be carried out in a "stable and responsible manner", adding Portugal should continue its close links with Macau also after the territory's transfer to China next year. 
      Mr Guterres, who has been Prime Minister of Portugal since October 1995, also urged China to invest in Macau, namely by moving some of its major financial, economic, regulatory and training institutions - "which are indispensable to the process of opening up to the world"- to Macau. 
      Mr Guterres also said it was "important"to discuss Macau's role as a bridge between the 15-nation European Union and China with the Chinese leadership in Beijing. 
 
     The Prime Minister warned against attitudes of self-abasement, urging his audience to "recognise the enormous potential that a tradition of several centuries of cultural exchanges and the capacity of understanding between peoples represents", adding that "this potential is nowadays indispensable to the business world, so that understanding can be possible".    
      Mr Guerres also said that Macau's transition towards Chinese rule in 1999 would not only "close a cycle of more than 400 years of history,"but also lead to the beginning of "another cycle that will, perhaps, be even more important within the framework of relations between Portugal and the Orient". 

 

Vitor Pessoa welcomes Pina Moura at the WTC Macau

     At the seminar, whose closing session was attended by Governor Gen. Vasco Rocha Vieira, Portuguese Economic Affairs Minister Pina Moura, cabinet ministers Jaime Gama, Jorge Coelho and Ferro Rodrigues. 
     Minister Pina Moura expressed the Portuguese goverment's willingness to contribute to the creation of conditions facilitating business relations between Portugal and China via Macau. 
     "It will be up to the government of Portugal and Macau and, perhaps, also the government of the People's Republic of China to create institutional conditions that will ensure that government bodies stimulates a good business enviroment, 

 

Banco Comercial de Macau Executive Director Rui Semedo delivers a speech at the economic seminar.
António Guterres, the Prime Minister of Portugal and Gen. Vasco Rocha Vieira, the Macau Governor, meet the press at WTC Macau.

instead of being a hindrance to business relations." Mr Moura said. 
       Vitor Pessoa, the Macau  government's Secretary for Enconomic Co-ordination said that Macau was now China's fifth biggest investor, ranking fourth in Guangdong province. He siad Macau possessed great experience in dealing with the Chinese  econonmy, something that Portuguese businessmen should turn to their advantage. 
Vitor Ng

     Vitor Ng, who heads the Macau Exporters and Importers Association and is an Excecutive Director of the World Trade Center Macau, said there existed "good conditions"for developing business ties between Portugal and China via Macau. However, Mr Ng said it was regrettable that Portuguese businessmen "have done little" in this respect.    
     "Portuguese businessmen have shown little interest in investments in China, they are satfisfied with ( investiments in)  the European Union, "Mr Ng said, who underlined the fact that Portugal was at the end of the 15 European Union countries in terms of exports to China.  
     "A lot of work has to be done, and they ( Portuguese businessmen) must try to learn more about China and use Macau to enter the Chinese market." Mr Ng told the Portuguese businessmen attending the seminar. 
 
Edmund Ho Hau Wah

     Edmund Ho Hau Wah, who chairs the Macau Association of Banks, also urged Portuguese businessmen to use Macau as a springboard for investments in China, "where you have many business opportunities", namely in the inland cities. 
     However, Mr Ho cautioned that Portuguese businessmen interested in doing business with China had to be patient, because "in China you do not invest to make a quick profit but with a long-term perspective" 
Vitor Pessoa welcomes Portuguese cabinet minister, Jorge Coelho.
WTC Macau Executive Director Vitor Ng welcomes Pina Moura, the Portuguese Economic Affairs Minister.
WTC Macau President António Leça convenes with the ICEP President Guilherme Costa  ( middle)  and ICEP representative Joaquim Moreira.
 
     

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