Qatar and Portugal have been working to beef-up the exchange of goods between the two countries, particularly after the Saudi-led economic blockade was imposed on the country in June 2017, Portuguese ambassador Antonio Tanger has said.
“Since the blockade, Qatar has been showing interest to work with Portugal and is making an effort to increase the imports from our country,” Tanger told Gulf Times in an interview.
Citing the latest data from the Portuguese National Statistics Institute, Tanger said the number of Portuguese companies exporting to Qatar “had increase significantly since August 2017.”
During a high-level trade and investment meeting in Qatar last year, Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa announced that Portugal’s exports to Qatar witnessed a 30% growth in the first two months of 2017.
Costa said Portuguese exports to Qatar jumped 61% in 2016, which reflects “the interest of Portuguese companies” in the Qatari market. In the same period, Costa said bilateral trade between the two countries stood at €42mn, up 15% compared to 2015.
Almost 55% of Portugal’s total exports to Qatar were non-metallic minerals, textiles, and furniture during this period, Costa had said. On the other hand, Qatar’s exports to Portugal were mostly plastic and rubber and chemical products.
“Since 2016, the sustained economic relations between Portugal and Qatar have been growing. Our embassy has been promoting Portugal and its culture among different entities, and is making a huge effort to bring more Portuguese companies to Qatar,” Tanger pointed out.
Tanger said these efforts were reflected at Project Qatar 2018 held this month where Portugal was represented by major Portuguese companies such as Azulejiberica, which specialises in cork solutions for insulation and decoration, synthetic grass, porcelain tiles, natural stone, and bathrooms.
“The participation of high-level Portuguese companies is very important and demonstrates the effort of our private sector to penetrate the Qatari market and work together with the government to achieve the Qatar National Vision 2030,” the ambassador said.
Aside from the construction sector, Tanger said Portugal is seeking Qatari investments in several sectors, including real estate, tourism, renewable energy, and health, as well as environmental industries.
He said Portugal is encouraging Qatari investors to participate in the Lisbon South Bay project, which offers opportunities in the real estate and industrial sectors.
During his visit to Qatar in 2017, Costa had said Qatari investors “have important stakes” in EDP (Energias de Portugal) and Vinci Portugal, and in the tourism sector. But aside from these, Costa said “many opportunities exist” in real estate investment and in urban renewal and development.
“Qatari investors have a 2.27% stake in EDP, which represents a market value above €250mn. They have also an investment in Vinci, which is the concessionary of all Portuguese airports. More recently, a new investment of about €300mn in a hotel has started. These are good examples we expect to multiply,” the prime minister had emphasised.
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