Portugal recorded a 30% growth in exports to Qatar in the first two months of 2017, Prime Minister Antonio Costa has said.
Costa, who led a trade and investment delegation to Qatar yesterday, said Portuguese exports to Qatar increased 61% in 2016, which reflects “the interest of Portuguese companies” in the Qatari market. He noted that HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani’s scheduled visit to Portugal in July will help strengthen trade relations between both countries.
“In 2016, the bilateral trade was only about €42mn, an increase of about 15% compared to 2015. In 2015, around 250 Portuguese companies exported various goods to Qatar. Considering the business opportunities that exist, I am sure more will come in the near future,” the prime minister told Gulf Times in an interview.
He added, “The aim of this visit is exactly to try to increase the trade and investment bilateral relationship. Increasing awareness of Qatari investors about the opportunities that exist in Portugal will surely contribute to that goal as it will make them more likely to invest or to export to Portugal.
“We just opened the delegation of the Portuguese Trade and Investment Agency in Doha and we expect that this will also help in this endeavour.”
Costa said in 2016, non-metallic minerals, textiles, and furniture represented almost 55% of the total Portuguese exports to Qatar, while Qatari exports were mostly plastic and rubber and chemical products.
During his visit, Costa and his delegation met with officials of Qatari Businessmen Association and Qatar Chamber, as well as the Portuguese Business Council. He said Portugal is “open-minded” and looks forward to “suggestions of Qatari authorities and economic agents regarding other areas of possible cooperation.”
To help Qatar in its diversification strategy and the development of its non-hydrocarbon sector, Costa said Portuguese companies in the fields of agro-food, textiles, construction, engineering, machinery, or other industries “can play a role in that effort,” including the development of Qatar’s small and medium-sized enterprise sector.
“There is surely room for many mutually-beneficial partnerships between Portuguese and Qatari companies to explore business opportunities that contribute to diversify the Qatari economy. We expect this visit helps in launching such a process.
“The Portuguese government is also keen to help in that effort by exchanging experiences with Qatari authorities in areas such as startup policy, public administration modernisation or innovation policy,” he pointed out.