Portugal should attract Chinese investors, says EU-China chamber of commerce

25 July 2006

Beijing, China, 25 July – The secretary-general of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, Giorgio Magistrelli, said Monday in Beijing that Portugal should make more efforts to attract Chinese investment in search of internationalization.

“Where Portugal could increase its investment, following on from what it has been doing, is in promoting the country as a destination for Chinese investment. This what the larger European countries, such as France, Germany and the United Kingdom are doing,” said Magistrelli, the Italian that has headed up the EU Chamber of Commerce in China since 2004, in an interview with Portuguese news agency Lusa.

“The fact is that China has become a source of foreign investment. Chinese companies are very interested in becoming international and this could be of great value to the Portuguese economy and an investment with a return for the Portuguese state,” said Magistrelli.

The chamber of commerce has three Portuguese company members – technology and communications company CTTC Archway, which is majority-owned by Portugal Telecom, Banco Nacional Ultramarino, a Macau-based bank owned by the Caixa Geral de Depósitos Group and the law company Namorado Advogados, headquartered in Lisbon.

The EU Chamber of Commerce in China is the largest influence group of European companies in China and has regular contacts with the central government, local governments and representatives of European companies in China.

The organization, which is privately funded, began its activities in 2000 with 50 members, two offices and 13 employees.

It now has 920 members, 35 employees and seven offices in the cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjing (Northern China), Guangzhou (capital of Guangdong province), Shenyang (capital of Liaoning province), Nanjing (capital of Jiangsu province) and Chengdu (capital of Sichuan province).

Magistrelli also praised the work carried out by Portuguese promotion and export agency ICEP-Portugal in China, saying it was “very positive” that ICEP’s delegation had opened up in Shanghai.

ICEP boosting its presence in China follows the agency having defined the Chinese and Japanese markets as strategic in the Asia-Pacific region, joining other strategic countries such as Spain, Angola, the United States, Brazil, Russia, Poland and the countries of the Persian Gulf.

According to figures from ICEP, from January to September 2005, China moved from 27th largest customer for Portuguese products to 4th largest customer.

In 2005, bilateral trade with China totaled some 800 million euros, with Portuguese exports increasing 57.4 percent between January and November 2005 against the previous year, the largest increase amongst non-EU countries, according to the Portuguese National Statistics Institute (INE). (macauhub)