Economic relations between Portugal and China boosted in May

22 April 2014

A round of contacts in May of this year promises to drive economic relations between Portugal and China, whilst Chinese investment in Portugal is on the up.

The high point of the initiatives will be a visit by Portugal’s President to Shanghai, Beijing and Macau from 13 to 19 May, along with a business mission that so far includes almost 60 companies from a variety of sector, ranging from banking to energy and wine.

The mission will begin in Shanghai, where on 14 May, according to the provisional programme, the “China – Portugal: Doing Busines Together” seminar organised by the Portuguese foreign trade and investment promotion agency and with the support of the Shanghai branch of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT).

On 16 May, in Beijing, another seminar will be held along with two-way meetings between Portuguese and Chinese companies, and the mission will end on 17 and 18 May in Macau.

Other initiatives due to be carried out in May are attracting economic agents from both countries, such as the “1st Chinese-Portuguese Forum for Advanced Materials Innovation,” set for 30 and 31 May in Hangzhou.

This event will be attended by officials from Portuguese and Chinese science institutes, local governments, technological parks, business incubators, companies, universities and research institutes, as well as investment and funding institutions.

The entities involved include the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) and Biocant, from Portugal and, on the Chinese side, the Department for Science and Technology of Zhejiang province and Hangzhou Future Sci-Tech City.

Created on 28 February 2013, at Zhejiang University, the Portugal-China Joint Centre for Advanced Materials is the first international centre for cooperation in science and technology involving both countries.

Since then four working platforms have been set up – biomedical, environmental, energy and nanotechnology materials – with a view to promoting joint research and development, technology transfer and commercialisation of innovations.

Economic and trade relations between the two countries has grown significantly over the last few years and Portugal is currently China’s third-largest trading partner amongst the Portuguese-speaking countries, with total trade of US$3.9 billion.

Over the last few years Portugal has experienced an influx of Chinese investment, particularly the entry of China Three Gorges in Portuguese power company Energias de Portugal (EdP) and of China State Grid in power grid company Redes Energéticas Nacionais (REN).

Chinese investors were also awarded the latest privatisation in Portugal, of state-owned insurance group Caixa Seguros, which will be controlled by Fosun International Limited.

Caixa Seguros is part of Portugal’s largest financial group, state-owned Caixa Geral de Depósitos (CGD), and the Portuguese government decided to sell around 80 percent of its insurance arm for 1 billion euros.

Facing a financial crisis and a financial bailout package led by the EU and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Portugal has been selling off some of its main state companies and stakes in some of the country’s key companies.

In 2014 Portugal expects to net 500 million euros from privatisations, including Empresa Geral de Fomento, for which Chinese groups Beijing Enterprises Water and Sound Global have made proposals. (macauhub/PT/CN)