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ASIAN FINANCIAL CRISIS HIGHLIGHTS NEED TO PAY ATTENTION TO SOCIAL ASPECTS, MACAU GOVERNMENT'S SECRETARY FOR ECONOMIC CO-ORDINATION, VITOR PESSOA, TELLS ESCAP MEETING IN BANGKOK
 
Vitor Pessoa at the ESCAP Meeting in Bangkok
 
     Asia's financial crisis has highlighted the need to pay increased attention to social aspects of the economic development process, the Macau government's Secretary for Economic Co-ordination, Vitor Pessoa, told an ESCAP meeting in Bangkok in April. 

     "In order to make sure that the economic growth of  the region's countries can be sustained, there is an increasing need that the government policies of economic stabilisation and structural reforms, which ensure medium-term economic growth, pay attention to social stability and equality", Mr Pessoa said. 
 

    Mr Pessoa told the participants in the ESCAP meeting that Macau was also experiencing a period of "economic difficulties" in connection with the  region's financial turmoil, which had manifested itself namely in Macau's main economic sector, the tourism industry, which was suffering a decrease in visitor arrivals. 

     Mr Pessoa said that Macau's economic problems resulting from the Asian financial crisis had also been triggered by the strong devaluation of some of the region's currencies. However, the Secretary of Economic Co-ordination stressed that Macau's legal tender, the pataca, had not directly been affected by the currency turmoil because of its peg to the HongKong dollar, which experienced a strong revaluation vis-a-vis most of the region's other currencies because of its peg to the US dollar. 

     Mr Pessoa explained that because of Macau's monetary and foreign-exchange stability, the competitiveness of the territory's export sector had suffered quite a bit, adding he expected local exports to slow down this year, after an eight percent growth in 1997. 

     ESCAP's 54th six-day meeting discussed development prospects for Asia and the Pacific in the wake of the region's financial crisis.

  
 
EUREKA (MEETS) ASIA INITIATIVE IN MACAU ATTENDED BY SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY MINISTERS OF PORTUGAL AND CHINA
 
 
Vitor Pessoa, Zhu Lilan, Mariano Gago and Governor Gen. Vasco Rocha Vieira at the Seminar

     China's newly appointed Science and Technology Minister, Zhu Lilan, announced in Macau in April the Chinese government decided to open up four of its high-tech industrial parks to members of the Eureka initiative. 

     The four industrial parks were previously open only to members of APEC. 

     Mrs Zhu made the announcement in her opening speech of the international conference, "Eureka (meets) Asia: A new challenge for technological and economic co-operation".

     The Chinese Minister also proposed that a Eureka seminar be held in Beijing or Europe "at the right moment", so that the greatest number possible of Chinese businessmen, scientists and engineers could better understand the Eureka initiative's joint development objectives.  

     Mrs Zhu acknowledged in her speech there still existed a "big gap" between China and the developed world in terms of scientific and technological research. She stressed that her country was now "completely open" to join research and development projects, based on mutual respect and amicable dialogue. 

    The Minister said she took great pride in China's first Eureka project, which is lead by Portugal and has the participation of the Netherlands and Brazil. The project's second plenary round was held in Macau on the margins of the Eureka meeting under the auspices of Macau's power supply company, CEM. 
 

      Portuguese Science and Technology Minister Mariano Gago underlined the importance of a Sino-Portuguese joint declaration which he signed with his Chinese counterpart in Macau. 

     "It may appear to be a paradox, but in the globalising world in which we live today, the best way that countries have to be more competitive is to strengthen their co-operation even more,"  Mr Gago said, adding, "Europe can defend itself better if it opens itself up to co-operation". 


     

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