Foreign affairs minister João Gomes Cravinho

“Work with us on going international” – government appeals to businesses

Portugal has to develop ‘win-win’ mechanisms, says head of diplomacy

Portugal’s foreign affairs minister, João Gomes Cravinho, has said that it is vital to increase funding for AICEP – the country’s foreign trade and investment agency – in order to develop mechanisms for companies to work with the state on ‘internationalisation’.

“What is fundamental is the increase in funding. Funding has to come from various sources and we now have a set of new funds that did not exist in the past,” João Gomes Cravinho told journalists at the end of the AICEP 15th anniversary conference in Viseu.

According to Portugal’s head of diplomacy, among the new funding for AICEP are “European funds linked to digital and energy transition.

“We have to know how to go about using them, so there is also a learning process there. On the other hand, we have to develop ‘win-win’ mechanisms, as they say in Brazil,” he said, describing these as “mechanisms in which companies work together with the State institution, AICEP and others, to finance their internationalisation and bring other Portuguese companies in with them”.

“Yes, greater internationalisation of the Portuguese economy means greater investment in these internationalisation processes,” he stressed.

Gomes Cravinho also suggested companies have to “adapt” to face the new challenges –  namely “digitalisation and all that this implies in terms of production processes; the issue of energy transformation, of green transition, the panorama that we currently live in of war, with the instability that this brings”.

The government has to “have a deeper contact, support companies that are not internationalised but would like to be, because the growth of internationalisation has to come from there, most of it, which means empowering those companies”, for example, through “generational transformation”.

“We know that young people are better educated than people my age and, therefore, generational transformation in companies helps this greater openness to internationalisation”, he went on. “But those who have never participated in an internationalisation process need support, no one is born already taught”.

Given the current context of war in Europe, with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, internationalisation has “higher risks”, which “are easily identifiable.

“They result from the unpredictability of the course of war, the duration of war and the consequences of war.” 

In this sense, the minister pointed to concerns “beginning to exist” all over the world and which “Covid itself had already shown”, that is, “the globalisation that existed until now” showed the need for “a balance between trust and dependence“.

We can only be dependent on those in whom we trust. That balance will cause a change in investments, in supply chains and the Portuguese economy. Portugal is a country that in that respect has some ease of contact with the whole world. The Portuguese economy may be one of the beneficiaries of this process of reorganization of the world economy in the light of wars and uncertainties,” he concluded.

Source: LUSA