Chinese president to visit Portugal
Chinese president Xi Jinping is set to begin a state visit to Portugal.
It will be the first state visit to the European country by a Chinese president in 8 years.
A view of the cliffs, the Atlantic Ocean and a lighthouse at Boca do Inferno in Cascais, Portugal. Cascais is a city and municipality in the Greater Lisbon region, located on the Portuguese Riviera, a major tourist destination and has many international residents. [Photo: IC]
Jose Luis Pinto Ramalho is the chair of the League of Portugal-China Lasting Friendship, a local bilateral promotion group.
He says he believes Xi Jinping's visit is important for both countries.
"This is a new step, a strategic step in our relationship. We think that it's very good for contributing to the friendship and cooperation of our two countries and our two peoples. So I'm sure that the visit by President Xi Jinping will be an opportunity to create deeper cooperation, and should help find ways to increase our cooperation, not only in an economic sense, but also in a scientific sense as well."
China is Portugal's largest trading partner in Asia.
Over the past several years, China has invested more than 9 billion euros in Portugal in various areas including energy, electricity, finance and insurance.
Portugal is now China's fifth largest investment destination in Europe.
Chief Executive of Portuguese investment firm Millennium BCP, Nuno Amado, says he hopes the visit will help attract more Chinese money into Portugal.
"I expect that President Xi Jinping's visit to Portugal can be a step further in this historical relationship that we have. We also hope this means the current investments China has been making in Portugal can be maintained and developed. We already know that Portugal is good point of entrance into Europe for many Chinese companies."
Paulo Duarte is a leading Chinese expert in Portugal.
He says he hopes the Chinese President's trip will also include new deals to attract more Chinese visitors to Portugal.
"One of them I expect is a resumption of flights that have been suspended, which is very important, because nowadays Chinese tourists spend more than most. It means a lot to our country and for our economy. We are in the process of recovery. Chinese tourists help a lot."
China is also making inroads into the education system in Portugal.
There are currently four Confucius Institutes operating in the country, including the one which has been operating at the University of Lisbon for the past 10-years.
More than 9-thousand people have studied at this particular Confucius Institute over the past decade.
Deputy director of the University of Lisbon, Joao Barreiros, says he believes President Xi Jinping's visit will boost the cultural and scientific exchanges between the two countries.
"It's a very important moment for the relationship between the two countries. This relationship between China and Portugal has been going on for the last forty years in diplomatic terms. It's also important for economic exchanges between the two countries. And I hope it will help increase cultural and scientific exchanges, which are very important for our universities."
This visit is also being highly watched by Chinese nationals living in Portugal.
President of the Luso-Chinese Association of Commerce and Industry, Choi Man Hin, has lived in Portugal for more than 30 years.
He says Xi Jinping's visit is a huge boost for the local Chinese community.
"I hope that the relationship between China and Portugal can reach new heights in both economics and culture. We are living here, so we hope this country can be better and better. I hope the relationship between these two countries can become even better in the future."
During the visit, the Chinese and Portuguese sides are expected to issue a joint statement.
Xi Jinping's visit is also going to include the signing of a series of agreements on a wide range of issues.