By Feng Xuejun from People’s Daily

Portugal and China have a sincere and longstanding friendship and constant bilateral high-level visits, said Pedro Sanchez Costa Pereira, Ambassador and Political Director of the Portuguese Ministry for Foreign Affairs in an interview with People’s Daily.

Pereira spoke highly of the bilateral relationship between Portugal and China in the new era.

In 2005, China and Portugal established comprehensive strategic partnership, and in 2019, the two countries will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, said Pereira, adding that the two countries have always respected each other and endeavored to expand bilateral cooperation.

Pereira expressed satisfaction over the development momentum in bilateral relationship between China and Portugal, noting that the good momentum has witnessed exponential increase in all fields in recent years.

Last year, more than 250,000 Chinese tourists visited Portugal, said Pereira, noting that  the trade and investment between the two countries have also kept growing, making China the sixth largest source of imports and the 11th largest destination of exports of Portugal.

“We have all reasons for being very confident about the future of our bilateral relationship,” said Pereira.

Mentioning Chinese President Xi Jinping’s upcoming state visit to Portugal, Pereira said it “will certainly represent a historical moment in our bilateral relations”, and disclosed that the two countries are currently negotiating bilateral agreements at state, ministerial and local level for a wide range of issues, spanning from culture to science and finance.

Pereira said he truly believes that the visit will signal a further development in Portugal-China relations, enhance the Chinese people’s awareness of Portugal and further promote people-to-people and tourism exchanges.

“In the upcoming state visit, we will reaffirm the commitment to promoting trade and investment liberalization and facilitation within the framework of a rules-based multilateral trade system,” Pereira said.

Portugal understands and supports China’s Belt and Road Initiative, and has consistently expressed its respect and interest for the Belt and Road Initiative,” said Pereira He also noted that Portugal considers the Belt and Road Initiative a major contribution to international trade relations and, specifically, to Eurasian connectivity.

“Both Portugal and China are staunch supporters of an open and free world economy and oppose unilateralism,” said Pereira, stressing that for Portugal, the internationalization of its economy and the promotion of multilateralism are two fundamental axis of its foreign policy.

Calling the first China International Import Expo “a further eloquent testimony of the importance  China attaches to free trade”, Pereira expressed that Portugal and China have ample possibilities for cooperation in fields concerning free trade and promotion of a multilateral world.

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