By CHRIS GRAEME
Minister of Finance and Economy Fernando Teixeira dos Santos has said that it was vital that entrepreneurs invested their goods and services in external markets.
Addressing a group of more than 750 Portuguese and Spanish businessmen at a lunch organised by the Portuguese-Spanish Chamber of Commerce (CCILE) on September 10, the minister also reinforced his message that Portuguese businessmen should take “action and initiative” at what was still a difficult time of crisis while adding that “internationalization and innovation were the keys to success”.
Fernando Teixeira dos Santos spoke after handing out awards for business and entrepreneurialism promoted by the chamber to key business figures acting in Portugal and Spain.
The awards, for Spanish Businessman of the Year and Portuguese Manager of the Year went to Manuel Fernández of Pescanova and Nuno Amado, President of the Executive Board of Directors of Banco Santander Totta, respectively.
They were presented by the Spanish Ambassador to Portugal, Dr Alberto Navarro, the President of the CCILE, Enrique Santos and by the Minister of Finance and Economy, Fernando Teixeira dos Santos.
Fernando Teixeira dos Santos said that 2008 had not been “an easy year because of the economic and financial situation”.
Congratulating the two winners for the work that they had developed, he said that they, in common with many other Spanish and Portuguese businessmen had “helped our economies resist this serious crisis.”
He expressed the wish that Portuguese business would continue to invest in Spain and Spanish business would continue to invest in Portugal and that the two countries would “intensify their relations.”
However, the minister said it was vitally important that Portugal diversified and internationalized its economy in order to “kick-start” growth for the “recovery” and added the desire that Portugal would up its investment in external markets from 34 per cent to 40 per cent of its total economic activity.
Fernando Teixeira dos Santos spoke about the need to boost qualifications “from top to bottom” and improve its performance in science, technology and innovation while producing quality products in wide global markets.
He mentioned reforms in terms of cutting bureaucracy and simplifying procedures and added that Portugal was investing heavily in alternative energy sources to reduce the country’s dependency on imported fuel which accounted for 52 per cent of Portugal’s external debt.
“This is a battle we are winning and for which we are being internationally recognised,” he said, but stressed that it was important to also create “international highways by both land and sea for commerce” in order to reinforce the competitiveness of the national economy.
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