Belt and Road Initiative expected to deliver benefits to Portugal
Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) meets with Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa in Lisbon, Portugal, on Dec. 5, 2018. [Photo: Xinhua]
Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan have returned to Beijing after state visits to Spain, Argentina, Panama and Portugal. He also attended the G20 summit in Buenos Aires. Some Portugese scholars and businessmen say China and Portugal are joining forces to push forward the construction of the Belt and Road Initiative. They expect that it will deliver benefits to the country, as well as strengthen Asia-Europe connectivity and boost global trade.
A cooperation agreement between the governments of China and Portugal on jointly building the Belt and Road has been inked as China's President Xi Jinping wraps up his visit to the country. Portugal used to be at the end of the ancient Maritime Silk Road in Europe. Now, it is a key hub that brings together the new land and sea routes of the Belt and Road Initiative.
Portuguese scholar Paulo Duarte says that people in his country can perfectly understand the benefits of connectivity brought about by the initiative.
"The belt and road will be a project not only for the century but for the century to come. And it is a holistic project in which sea and land are connected. This is intended to bring peace for all the society and the planet, and you will see that the main rational behind china's belt and road is connectivity. "
Luis Henriques is a representative of a global trade and investment agency. He believes that the Belt and Road Initiative has great potential to drive development in both countries.
"I believe that it is an important strategy for the development around the world because it is the biggest development strategy that has been put out by China in the past few years. So it is important for China, and even important for China in the world. It is certainly important for the world. Obviously, this development will generate opportunities for Portugal," says Luis Henriques.
And the benefits of the Belt and Road Initiative can extend beyond Portugal to other European countries. Jorge Correia is the CEO of Portugal's leading insurance provider Fidelidade.
"I think that Portugal can understand perfectly this opportunity, and can bring all our capacities, relationship and work. Also, Portuguese are very adaptable and flexible. We understand very well other cultures. Portugal could be a good point of entry for these initiatives in European markets because we understand the relevance of these initiatives and we want to be part of these initiatives. "
And the Chairman of the Portugal-China Friendship Association Jose Ramalho suggests that the initiative will bring closer economic ties, and further expand cooperation across various sectors.
"We understand the project that President Xi Jinping has mentioned is a win-win project. It is a way to share infrastructures to make participation different. Not only Chinese but also international investments and national investments. And this is a way that we can develop and fulfill strategic objectives for both sides. This is a real opportunity," says Jose Ramalho.
China and Portugal will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations next year. More direct flights are due to be launched, and negotiations for a social security agreement will begin in the first half of next year.