To better encourage cooperation, knowledge transfer, and innovations between their countries and Portugal, these chambers of commerce are working on encouraging more cross-border activities.
President, Portuguese-Spanish Chamber of Commerce and Industry
In terms of overall data, Spain accounts for around 30% of Portugal’s foreign commerce. Its primary supplier and client is Spain. Aside from this, there are around 100,000 companies that export or trade between the two countries. In the financial sectors, Spanish presence accounts up to 35% of this industry. There are also numerous large, medium, and small law firms specializing in assisting businesses, as well as investments, from both countries. The chamber has seen extremely reduced activity over the last two years because of the pandemic, with only monthly webinars and a small sectorial component; however, we want to get back to business quickly. We also want to do events that give us more publicity. We will have ministers for more focused events at the sector level. We also want to do one of the investment of European funds, one on logistics, and one focused on raw materials. It is also critical to open a chamber in Porto, as there are many Spanish companies installed in the north.
President, Italian Chamber of Commerce for Portugal
Italians are mainly concentrated in Cascais and the southern region of Algarve. There is a new community of Italians there, mainly retirees. There is also a community of businesspeople that moved to Portugal a decade or more ago. In the last few years, the Italian community has grown remarkably, with more than 20,000 newcomers encouraged by the fiscal incentives implemented by the Portuguese government. In terms of commercial exchanges between Italy and Portugal, we are talking around EUR4 billion from Italy to Portugal and EUR2.6 billion from Portugal to Italy. Portugal is considered an appealing market for Italian investors and businesses. We are witnessing strong interest and potential in the field of medical devices. Italian technology has a solid reputation internationally, and in Portugal this segment is gaining solid share in terms of imports. There are both opportunities and potential here, and the legal framework for setting up a new business is favorable to investors.
Chairman, António Calçada de Sá
Today, we have a unique opportunity: for the first time in many years, both Spain and Portugal have a common agenda on the social, political, and economic fronts. I am a strong believer of the concept of the Iberian Peninsula as a whole, as both Portuguese and Spanish people can work together to create a strong and dynamic power on the economic, cultural, and social sides. Both the vision and ambition of the chamber of commerce consist of connecting the dots on the political side, between enterprises in Portugal and Spain, and for activities related to science and academics. We should look at these fields as a single market. In the European context, when debating some of the most critical and important issues, Portugal and Spain have shown that when they join forces, their negotiation power is significantly stronger, and they can easily reach their shared goals. The same concept can be applied at a global level. To make this happen, the chamber brings together all the different players.
General Director, French Portuguese Chamber of Commerce
France is among the lead partners of Portugal along with Spain and Germany. We still have a number of ongoing projects with French companies keen to invest in Portugal. Even though French investments tripled last year, we are still in third place behind Spain and Germany. That said, we have some excellent upcoming projects, and it is great that Portugal remains a prospect for consideration in France. Knowledge transfer—especially in the field of innovation—will drive growth. French companies export services and know-how. From the pandemic, we can see a true relocation of industry: this phenomenon involves French companies as well. There are many French companies with production facilities in Asia or North Africa returning to Europe. And because of the existing incentives, often Portugal is one of the countries they choose. Portugal is positioning itself not only as an industrial hub but is also attracting a growing volume of skilled human capital.
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