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Time to invest is now, says ever-upbeat Portas

“The time has come to look very closely at Portugal”. The sentence came from deputy prime minister Paulo Portas, who was speaking at a conference with Vice-President of the European Commission António Tajani, also responsible for Industry and Entrepreneurship.

“As long as Portugal does its homework in order to become competitive enough to invest in, now is the time to invest in Portugal,” Portas guaranteed.

During the conference – attended by 800 businessmen from all over the world – Portas listed all the progress Portugal has accomplished since the beginning of the crisis, stressing the “very demanding sacrifices” that the Portuguese people were being subjected to.

He said he is confident that traces of economic growth point towards “moderate confidence” in national companies as well as the economy in general.

Portas highlighted the end of the country’s technical recession, the drop in unemployment, the increased revenue from the tourism sector, and especially the increase in exports (see article below).

To boost the nation’s image in the eyes of potential investors at the conference, the head of the CDS-PP political party described Portugal as a country with a “unique strategic location” with strong economic, cultural and political relations with markets that use Portuguese as their mother tongue, such as Brazil, Angola and Mozambique. He also mentioned the country’s “qualified human resources” and “high-quality infrastructures”. And, he added, if this is not enough, “Portugal is a southern European country with hard-working people, sun, beaches, the sea, surf, golf, quality health services and roads, safety and top-notch food”.

On a closing note, Portas rounded up his speech by considering Portugal a “good destination to travel to or invest in”, reminding the vice-president of the EC in Italian – Tajani’s mother tongue – that “Portugal has the best olive oil in the world”.

2013 best year for exports
Only days before the conference, deputy PM Paulo Portas remained upbeat about the recovery of the Portuguese economy, declaring 2013 has been the “best year ever” for exports.

The former minister of foreign affairs considers 2013 will end with exports representing 41% of GDP (gross domestic product) – and that’s definitely a record.

Making the announcement at the eighth edition of the “Portugal Exportador” event in Lisbon last week, Portas said he was “very proud” of Portuguese companies, while stressing their latest results will be a “lesson in humility” for the international institutions forever producing downbeat economic forecasts of “great scepticism” over Portugal and its export potential.

“They were wrong in 2012 and they are wrong again in 2013,” Portas trumpeted.

At the same event, the president of AICEP Portugal Global – Trade & Investment Agency, Pedro Reis, also stressed the importance of exports, saying “they are the key to recovering the economy”.