Forum for Economic and Trade Co-operation between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries (MACAO Forum)

 

Updated on November 2017

What is “Macao Forum”?

The Forum for Economic and Trade Co-operation between China and Portuguese-Speaking Countries (MACAO), also named “Macao Forum”, was created in 2003. Defined as a multilateral and intergovernmental mechanism for cooperation, the creation of the Forum was stimulated by the Central Government of China, with the coordination of seven Portuguese-speaking countries (without São Tomé and Príncipe at first) and governmental collaboration of Macao – a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (SAR) (Forum Macao, n.d.).

Objective

The main objective of Forum Macao is to contribute to the development and strengthening of commercial and economic relations between China and its other members (Forum Macao, 2003). Furthermore, mutual benefits and the Chinese, Macao and Portuguese-speaking countries internal development are also a part of the forum’s goal (Xinhua Português, 2016a).

Macao as a platform

Since Portuguese is one of its official languages, Macao is used by the Chinese government as a link to facilitate and consolidate the commercial and economic relations between China and the eight Portuguese-Speaking countries (Lee, 2016, p. 45). In addition, it is also where the Permanent Secretariat of the Forum is located.  That linguistic and cultural bond with the Portuguese-Speaking countries is deriving from the Portuguese colonization of the Forum’s platform for more than 400 years – The colonization of Macao lasted until 1999 (Macauhub, n.d.).

Members

  • Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, China, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal, São Tome and Príncipe and East Timor (Forum Macao, n.d.).
  • São Tomé and Príncipe joined the Forum in 2017. Before that, the African country kept a diplomatic relation with Taiwan. Since 1997, China, which considers Taiwan as a Chinese province and defends the “One-China” principle, did not have diplomatic relations with São Tomé and Príncipe. In 2013, a representative from the African state, under a minister position, was sent to a Forum’s Ministerial Meeting for the first time to participate as an observer. However, the same Country was not represented at the 2016 Meeting (Observatório da Língua Portuguesa, 2016).[1]

[1] São Tomé and Príncipe cut diplomatic relations with Taiwan on December 20th, 2016. After that, China and the archipelago signed an agreement of reestablishment of their diplomatic relations (Macahub, 2017a). The African Country has become a permanent forum member during the 12nd Ordinary Meeting of the Forum Macao’s Permanent Secretariat on March, 2017 (Forum Macao, 2017a).

Structure

Economy, Trade and Investment

Chinese participation in Portuguese-Speaking Countries’ Exportations (2015)

Source: (OEC, n.d.)

 

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Source:  (Forum Macao, 2017b).

 

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Source:  (Forum Macao, 2017b).

  • In order to promote investment, economy and trade, the Permanent Secretariat of Forum Macao organizes annually an event named “Business People Meeting for Economic and Trade Co-operation between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries”. For the same purpose, the following activities are also organized (Forum Macao, n.d.):
    1. International Infrastructure Investment and Construction Forum (IIICF);
    2. China and Portuguese-speaking Countries’ Young Entrepreneurs Forum;
    3. Summit for Trade and Industrial Development of Jiangsu Province, Macao and Portuguese-speaking Countries;
    4. Roundtable Meeting between leaders of Provinces and Municipalities of China and Portuguese-speaking Countries;
    5. China Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises International Fair.
  • The Chinese participation in Brazilian and Angolan exportations of soybean and crude oil, respectively, is notable annually. For exampleHowever, Angola became one of the biggest exporters of crude oil to China in 2016. 175 thousand barrels (12% of the total Angola’s exportations of crude oil) were exported daily just in April (OPEC, p.73, 2016). At the same year, Brazil was the main exporter of soybean to the Asian Country which bought around 6 million tons (77% of the total Brazil’s exportations of soybean) in July, 2016 (Revista Macau, p. 12, 2016).
  • In the first semester of 2016, 60% of foreign investments in Mozambique were from China, totaling around US$ 154 million that were destined principally to agriculture, civil Works and constructions, industry and agroindustry (Revista Macau, p. 15, 2016).

 

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Source: OEC, n.d..

 

Chart by Visualizer

Source: OEC, n.d.).

 

Chart by Visualizer

Source: OEC,n.d.

 

Chart by Visualizer

Source: OEC, n.d.

China-Portuguese Speaking Countries Cooperation and Development Fund

 

 

  1. Promotion of Corporate Investment;
  2. Compliance with the market’s financing rules;
  • Mutual benefits: environmental protection, social responsability and stimulus to the social development of member countries are the basis of the fund.

 

 

  • Some Projects:

 

  1. Agricultural Project in Mozambique (2013): first project approved by the fund. It holds US$ 10 million financed by the Chinese Corporate, Wanbao Grains & Oils Co., to rice production (CCILC, 2013);
  2. Electrical Project in Angola (2014): second project approved by the fund. It holds US$ 50 million financed (IPIM, 2014);
  • Solar Project in Brazil (2017): project with the total value of US$ 200 million. US$ 20 million are from the fund which is destined to the production of 200 megawatts of energy (Macauhub, 2017b).

Education

  • Mentioned in the “Five-Year Development Plan of Macao (2016 – 2020)”, the government of Macao pointed out that local private schools will have to comply with minimum workload to Portuguese classes. Besides that, the government also aims to increase the scholarships in Universities of Portugal to Macao students interested in Portuguese and/or Translation (Chinese-Portuguese) studies (Revista Macau, p.26, 2016).
  • In order to foster the cooperation with the Portuguese-Speaking countries in the educational sphere, the Chinese government offers scholarships at Macao Polytechnic Institute to Portuguese-speaking students as well. The Institution opens courses of “Translation and Interpretation Chinese-Portuguese” and “Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language”, receiving students mostly from Brazil and Portugal. The University of Macau, which offers undergraduate and postgraduate courses focused on Portuguese culture, literature and linguistics, is another institution involved in this cooperation (Pereira, p.64-65, 2016).

Culture

  • Defined at the 4th Ministerial Conference of Forum Macao, the Strategic Plan for Economic and Trade Co-operation (2014-2016) established the importance of cultural integration between China and the Portuguese-Speaking Countries. In this context, festival and other events, such as the Lusofonia Festival, the Cultural Week of China and Portuguse-speaking Countries, happen gradually as effects of the cooperation in this area (Forum Macao, s.d.).
  • The Lusofonia Festival, which is held since 1998, is promoted as a space of cultural expression of Portuguese-Speaking communities from Macao, Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Goa, Daman and Diu[1], Mozambique, Portugal, East Timor and São Tomé and Príncipe. The festival became an important event in Macao with high popularity, which is responsible for the tourist growth of the region (Cultural Institute of Macao, 2016).
  • The Cultural Week of China and Portuguese-speaking Countries was created in 2008 and it is held in Macao annually since then. The week aims to promote the cooperation among the members of Forum Macao and reinforce the role of Macao as the forum’s platform through the integration of the countries in different spheres (Pereira, p.61, 2016). In 2016, there was the 8th edition of the event holding theatre shows, presentations of music and dance, handcraft fair, painting exhibition and gastronomy fair.
  • [1] Goa, Daman and Diu are Indian territories that were under Portuguese domain for more than 450 years. Because of that, they have cultural influences from Portugal until today.