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pa4gr1b.jpg (8292 bytes)     Governor General Vasco Rocha Vieira said at an international economics seminar in September that Macau would continue to be a "bridge of understanding" between China and the rest of the world, namely Europe.

        Gen. Vieira made the remark in his opening speech of a seminar on economic integration in southern China, held by the Macau Monetary and Foreign Exchange Authority on 22 September.

        "For Macau, positioned where varied lines of modernisation and different cultures cross, the theme of this seminar merges into its own history and its essence as a bridge of understanding and this remains its orientation towards the future," the Governor said.

        Gen. Vieira also pointed out that Asia was now "regaining important positions in the system of international economic relations and China’s integration into this speedy development process presents a new kind of challenge with repercussions throughout all developed societies".

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     "In fact, the competitive challenge that China introduces to international economic relations may require a new approach to the traditional concepts of employment and company organisation, with important consequences for deciding the hierarchy of powers in the world order," Governor stressed.

        "The winds of change are creating a new world," Gen. Vieira said, "At this unique cultural crossroads, Macau is an exceptional place of observing change in today’s world." Gen. Vieira said, adding that Macau "also functions as an operating base for companies that know how to take up the challenges facing us all".

        Macau must "consolidate" its tertiary services sector trends, the Macau government’s Secretary for Economic Co-ordination, Vitor Pessoa, said during the seminar.

        Speaking on economic integration in southern China, Mr Pessoa said that the tertiary sector trends benefitted from the existence of excellent transport and telecommunication infrastructures in Macau, from its geographic proximity to China’s most dynamic development regions and from an "urban environment that is based on a unique Euro-Asian cultural co-existence."

        Mr Pessoa also said that the ongoing changes in Macau’s economic structure would further strengthen the Territory’s role in the Pearl River delta region. He said Macau could become a major regional services centre for foreign companies operating in southern China.

        Europe "woke up late" to the astonishing economic transformations in southern China and Southeast Asia since the 1980s, Portuguese Finance Minister António Sousa Franco said at the seminar.

        "The China of today plays a role of the utmost importance in the world economy," Mr Franco stressed.

        He also emphasised that Macau was in an "excellent position" in the world economy, "given its role as the natural mediator between China and Portugal, and thus the European Union."

        Mr Franco also said that Macau "will serve as a foundation stone for the increase in commercial and financial transactions between Portugal and China, and the European Union."

        "Full integration of Macau into China will mean greater potential for mutual trade, because transactions will be simplified, given its political and economic integration (into China in December 1999)," Mr Franco said.

        "Times of change lie ahead for Macau, Portugal and the integrated economy of southern China," Mr Franco said, adding that "these changes must be regarded as the begetter of new opportunities and challenges" in five major areas: growing commercial exchanges; technological innovation; financial diversification and sophistication; a powerful service economy; the establishment of new partnerships and alliances.

        Macau Monetary and Foreign Exchange Authority President Manuela Morgado, CGD/BNU President João Salgueiro and Bank of China President Wang Xuebing also made speeches related to the economic integration in the South of China.seta.gif (127 bytes)


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