Economist hints at Portugal’s strategic role in Latin Americ.jpg

Economist hints at Portugal’s strategic role in Latin Americ

By CHRIS GRAEME [email protected]

Uruguayan economist and banker Enrique V Iglesias said that Portugal’s diplomatic and political role in Latin America would be of grand strategic importance.

Addressing business movers and shakers at a Spanish-Portuguese Chamber lunch last week in the run-up to the 29th Iberian-American Summit in Portugal between November 30 and December 1, the Secretary General of the SEGIB (Iberian-American Conference) said that Portugal’s strategic relationship with Brazil would be good for the overall development of the Latin American region.

The Portuguese Foreign Minister, Luís Amado, said that Portugal and Spain were enjoying an economic, political and diplomatic relationship with Brazil “like we’ve never had in centuries”.

Portugal’s strong bi-lateral ties with Brazil meant that, diplomatically and politically, she was strategically placed to open business doors with other Latin American countries both for Portuguese firms and Iberian players while Portugal’s links to Africa meant that she had an important geo-economic role in extending trade for Iberian and Latin American partners in that continent.

Iglesias said that Latin American entrepreneurs and businesses highlighted the importance of Latin America as “a vital economic space in a global world”.

He said that although the economic crisis had undoubtedly affected Latin America, her financial institutions, which had operated along more traditional banking models, had not been exposed to high levels of toxic debt which meant that her business and banking system was essentially sound.

The solidity of her banking system meant that Latin America had avoided over-dependence on the international financial system.

While most Latin American countries, according to IMF figures, saw reduced growth rates in 2008, they are highly favourable compared to Europe and the United States.