6th Ministerial Conference of Forum Macao to be held on April 21-23

2024-03-26 03:12
BY Harald Brüning

The 6th Ministerial Conference of the Forum for Economic and Trade Cooperation between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries (Macao) will be held at the Service Platform Complex for Trade Cooperation between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries on April 21-23, the Permanent Secretariat of the Forum announced yesterday.

“Forum Macao” is the organisation’s short form.

The three-day event’s schedule includes a welcome banquet at the Macau East Asian Games Dome’s International Convention Centre in Cotai on April 21. The opening ceremony and ministerial-level meetings will be held at Forum Macao’s Service Platform Complex in Nam Van.

According to a statement by the Macau Government Information Bureau (GCS), the conference will also include “the signing of the Strategic Plan for Economic and Trade Cooperation (2024-2027), and an entrepreneur conference between China and Portuguese-speaking countries.

“The Ministerial Conference will outline the development vision and direction for cooperation between China and the Portuguese-speaking countries for the period until 2027, furthering Macau’s function as a commercial and trade service platform between China and the Portuguese-speaking countries.” 

The GCS statement noted that Forum Macao was formally set up in Macau in October 2003. It was initiated by the Central People’s Government’s Ministry of Commerce (MOC) in conjunction with the government of the Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR).

Forum Macao now comprises China and nine Portuguese-speaking countries – Angola, Brazil, Cabo Verde (Cape Verde), Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Mozambique, Portugal, São Tomé and Príncipe, and Timor-Leste (East Timor).

 Since the establishment of Forum Macao, there have so far been five Ministerial Conferences and an Extraordinary Ministerial Meeting, all of them held in Macau.

The GCS statement underlined that “the meetings have advanced intergovernmental cooperation in a number of areas between China and Portuguese-speaking countries, such as trade and investment; production capacity; development cooperation; human resources; medical and health matters; and education and cultural affairs.

“These efforts have helped further Macau’s role as a commercial and trade service platform serving China and the Portuguese-speaking countries, while bringing about greater opportunities for Macau’s appropriate economic diversification.”

Informed sources have told the Post that the final list of the conference’s most senior participants will be announced in the run-up to next month’s event.

Due to the three-year COVID-19 pandemic and schedule issues, the last Ministerial Conference, supposed to be held every three years, took place in Macau back in October 2016.

Forum Macao’s Permanent Secretariat is headed by its Secretary-General Ji Xianzheng, a career diplomat who took up his current post in January 2022. Ji, who was previously posted to Venezuela, Spain and Portugal, is an expert in commercial diplomacy and former deputy director of the Department for European Affairs at the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) in Beijing.

Analysts have described Forum Macao as Macau’s most important institution dedicated to international relations and pointed out that it has elevated the MSAR’s international status and image.

Forum Macao’s nine Portuguese-speaking countries include one of the world’s major economic powers and one of the nine BRICS members – Brazil, as well as two of Africa’s emerging major economies – Angola and Mozambique. It also includes EU member Portugal and five relatively small countries which, however, are rich in natural resources such as petroleum (Equatorial Guinea), cashew nuts (Guinea-Bissau), coffee (Timor-Leste), cocoa (São Tomé and Príncipe), and pozzuolana (Cabo Verde).

The nine Portuguese-speaking countries have a population of 290 million. Forum Macao’s 10 member states account for around one-fifth of the world population. 

This undated file photo shows the flags of Forum Macao’s 10 member states. – Photo courtesy of Forum Macao


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