Costa tells FT: Europe ‘should embrace Chinese investment’

In what was undoubtedly a response to the press conference called by the US embassy last week, prime minister António Costa has warned of protectionist policies with regard to Chinese investment.

Talking to the UK’s Financial Times newspaper on Sunday, Costa stressed that Europe should ‘not respond like Donald Trump’, explains ECO online.

Only days before, four journalists and three photographers attended a press conference at the US embassy where a member of the country’s federal communications agency sat with ambassador George Glass to warn of the folly of allowing Chinese participation in Portugal’s developing 5G network (click here).

The message was laid out that unless Portugal changed its tune, the net result could affect relations with NATO.

Ambassador Glass later appeared upset by the photograph chosen for one of the newspapers’ front pages, tweeting: “3 photographers and 4 journalists and this is the front page pic. Seriously?”

But ‘seriously’ Portugal does appear to have a very different view on the inclusion of Huawei in its 5G programme.

Costa told the FT, “our experience with Chinese investment has been very positive”.

Says ECO, Costa stressed that “the Chinese have shown total respect for (Portugal’s) legal structure and for the rules of the market”.

The Portuguese PM appears to have started his defence of Chinese investment by saying, in general terms, that “it is important to examine all investments from other countries in sectors like security and defence, but not to use these controls as a pretext for discriminating against non-EU investments”.

“It’s one thing to select to protect strategic sectors. It’s quite another to do so in order to open the doors to protectionism”.

Meantime, stories following both the US embassy press conference and Costa’s interview in the FT have reiterated Huawei’s “determination to develop the 5G network in Portugal” (Público) and the deal forged and ‘set to continue’ with French telecoms operator Altice.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com