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Minister names exports solution to “tourism-dependency”

Augusto Santos da Silva, Portugal’s new Minister of Foreign Affairs, has announced plans to increase Portugal’s exports in an attempt to make the country less “tourism-dependent”.

“We should continue investing strongly in tourism, which still has leeway to grow, but we don’t want to become tourism-dependant,” he told a crowd of 280 youngsters as part of AICEP’s INOV Contact initiative.

“We need to have different priorities, we can’t depend on just one,” he said.

Santos Silva spoke of the “notable progress” of Portugal’s exports in the last few years, with exports of goods and services accounting for 40% of the country’s GDP.

“Are we happy? Yes, we are. Are we satisfied? No, we want more, we want our exports to be worth more of our GDP and for the link between goods and services to improve as well,” he said.

As he said, Portugal’s commercial balance is positive mostly due to tourism and travel, and that there are other sectors like the textile, footwear and agro-food industries that are full of potential.

He added that the government is working on ways to improve funding for companies that want to export, starting with the “stabilisation of Portugal’s finance and bank systems”.

Meantime, Santos Silva suggested that companies look to emerging economies, such as India, China, Pacific Asia, the Middle East, the north of Africa and sub-Saharan Africa.