Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Portugal is expected to expand pragmatic cooperation between China and Portugal under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), said Portuguese experts who look forward to the opportunity to deepen bilateral relations in various fields.
President Xi is scheduled to pay a state visit to Portugal from Dec. 4 to 5. It will be the first state visit by a Chinese head of state to Portugal in eight years and also the first visit to Portugal since Xi took office as Chinese president.
The prospect for future cooperation between Portugal and China is promising, said Dr. Fernanda Ilheu, president of the New Silk Road Friends Association, adding that Xi’s visit will promote cooperation in various fields, including the marine economy, aviation, clean energy, and university cooperation.
Portugal is an important partner in the construction of the BRI and one of the founding members of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
Through Xi’s visit, Portugal can explore more possibilities for cooperation with China under the BRI framework, said Dr. Paulo Duarte, a researcher and lecturer at the University of Minho. He stressed that with the rise of protectionism, Portugal and the EU should adopt a more positive attitude toward the BRI.
China is Portugal’s largest trading partner in Asia, while Portugal is one of the main destinations for Chinese investment within the European Union (EU). Bilateral trade value between China and Portugal reached about $5.6 billion in 2017.
The friendship and cooperation between Portugal and China go back 100 years, said Dr. Maria Teresa de Salter Cid Gonçalves Rocha Pires, Director of the University of Lisbon’s Confucius Institute, adding that relations between the two countries are deepening in all aspects.