By Chris Graeme
QUALIFICATION, RATIONSLISATION, reorientation and infrastructure are the four watchwords for Portugal’s competitiveness on the road to economic recovery.
Addressing several hundred members and guests of the Spanish-Portuguese Chamber of Commerce, the Secretary of State for Regional Development, Dr. Rui Nuno Baleiras said the next cycle of cohesion (2007-2013) had an overriding objective: “to increase the competitiveness of the Portuguese economy.”
Talking at the Hotel Meridian, Dr. Baleiras said that great challenge and design was being promoted through four main policy thrusts:
• Improving the qualifications and training for young Portuguese people in in-demand areas, such as science, maths, technology, computing, research and development.
• Reducing public administration costs and red tape, which were damaging the economy and Portuguese business.
• Reorientation of the productive profile of Portuguese companies by focusing on trans-border and trans-market transactional goods and services, while promoting an increase in value and development in Portugal.
• Improving infrastructure networks throughout the country whether roads, rail or internet and communications to create an atmosphere to attract economic activity and investment.
Of these, concentration and selectivity in the areas of help the government was prepared to give from public money would be imperative, concentrating financial resources in key areas to promote value, innovation and competitiveness.
“The choice of economic activities that the government and EU will be willing to fund will, in future, be more focused and restricted in the next cycle of cohesion,” he said.
Above all, the innovation, modernisation and qualification of companies would be at the forefront of the government’s policy to stimulate innovation and the capacity and quality of production in dynamic sectors of international demand.
This meant stimulating the internationalisation and re-organisation of companies, their management and workforce through modern techniques and working practices, digitalisation, research and development, improved production techniques, streamlining, efficiency, improved energy consumption and installation of quality systems.
The Minister said that trans-border co-operation between Spain and Portugal was “excellent” and, according to the European Commission, trade and co-operation links between Portugal and Spanish provinces were “the best in the European Union”.
“At a regional level, co-operation and trade between small and medium-sized companies and câmaras contribute to the excellent level of relations between Spain and Portugal today,” he concluded.