China “believes” in Portugal

China “has clearly shown it believes in Portugal” and will “increase” its financial support to the country, Portuguese Finance Minister Fernando Teixeira dos Santos said on Tuesday while on a visit to Beijing.

“We made a great leap forward in strengthening our ties on every level, both in trade and investment, and also in financing”, Teixeira dos Santos told Lusa News Agency.

The Finance minister spent two days in Beijing this week where he met his Chinese counterpart, Xie Xuren, and central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan.

Teixeira dos Santos wouldn’t comment on specifics about China’s intention to purchase Portuguese bonds, as suggested by Chinese President Hu Jintao during his November Lisbon trip. He did however describe China as a “globally influential partner” that “believes in Portugal”.

“China will continue to support Portugal”, Teixeira dos Santos said. “China believes in our effort to consolidate public finances.”

Meanwhile, Portuguese Prime Minister José Sócrates told Lusa News Agency this week that an International Monetary Fund (IMF) paper shows that Portugal is “on the frontline” of budget consolidation.

The paper was published by a group of IMF economists and doesn’t necessarily reflect the organisation’s official views; according to it, out of 25 major economies, Portugal will be the country with the least need for fiscal adjustment until 2020, provided Lisbon meets its deficit goals up to the end of 2013.

“This data confirms what I have been saying: Portugal is on the frontline of those countries achieving a fast budget consolidation, and our social security reform is a structural reform which will have a major impact towards balancing the public accounts”, Sócrates said.


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