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Portuguese President and Xi Meet, Agree To Deepen Cooperation, Including in Third Markets

April 30, 2019 (EIRNS)—After participating in the Second Belt and Road Forum, Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa held a bilateral meeting with President Xi Jinping on April 29, where the two governments agreed to advance on their Memorandum of Understanding signed last November during Xi’s visit to Portugal. According to Xinhua, Xi told his guest that

“China regards Portugal as an important partner in the joint building of the Belt and Road. The two countries should deepen cooperation in fields including trade, investment, energy, infrastructure and electric vehicles.... China is willing to work with Portugal in achieving more outcomes in the cooperation between China and Portuguese-speaking countries including Portugal.”

Rebelo de Sousa responded that Portugal is prepared to “deepen ties with China in economy, trade, investment, technology and culture, and expand third-party market cooperation.”

This focus on third-party projects launched by China with its growing roster of bilateral partners, is an important part of the qualitative advance in the Belt and Road Initiative. Italy and China signed such an MOU emphasizing joint projects in Africa; Switzerland has also signed an MOU pointing to third-party projects; and China’s overall approach to BRI cooperation with Portugal and Spain has from the beginning been focused on the role those two nations can play in Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking nations in Ibero-America and Africa.