According to Portuguese officials, during the first half of 2016, the country has nearly doubled the value of exports to Qatar as compared to the same time period in 2015.
The drastic increase follows work on both sides to improve trade relations between the two countries.
Portugal’s total exports to Qatar amounted to €15.6 million from January to June, according to Arab-Portugal Chamber of Commerce Secretary General and CEO Dr. Aida Bouabdellah. Imports for the same time period were at €7.2 million.
While speaking with the Gulf Times during a meeting with Qatar Chamber officials, Bouabdellah noted the strengthening relationship.
“We have very good relations with Qatar,” Bouabdellah said. “Our trade balance has been improving throughout the years.”
Giving some history on the trade relationship, Bouabdellah noted that Portugal’s exports to Qatar in 2015 totaled €17.7 million, which was down slightly from the €19 million reported in 2014.
“Portugal imported from Qatar around €19.1 million worth of products in 2015 compared with €16.9 million in 2014,” Bouabdellah, who consulted with seven Portuguese companies during the meeting, said.
Stone and plaster, cement and ceramic were the top exports by Portugal to Qatar last year, making up roughly 20 percent of all exports. Textiles, goods and other products were the remaining exports.
“Portugal also exported some base metals and articles such as machinery, electric materials and other products,” Bouabdellah said. “On the other hand, topping the list of imports are plastics and others, representing almost 97 percent. This was followed by textiles and other products.”
In addition, Portugal specializes in classic industries, textile, shoes, glass, construction materials, food goods, health sector and others. Bouabdellah said that Portugal exports €1 billion worth of shoes annually. She also noted that countries such as Europe, the U.S., Japan and China, as well as internationally recognized companies, are investing in Portugal.
“I think there is a common ground between Qatar and Portugal,” Qatar Chamber board member Ali al-Misnad said. “It is important that we learn from each other and that both countries keep the trade balance at a level that we wish to increase more and more so, we have to see the best way to encourage that.”
There are 10 influential Portuguese companies operating in Qatar in the industries of property management, technology, interior design, marketing, construction, architecture and engineering, according to Daniel Pontes, economic and commercial attaché at the Portuguese Embassy in Doha.