LAHORE-Ambassador of Portugal Manuel Frederico Pinheiro Silva said on Saturday that businesspeople of his country were keen to explore business opportunities in Pakistan. During his visit to Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on Saturday, he quoted a Portuguese saying that ‘the best parts should be visited at the end’, and that was why he concluded his tour by visiting Punjab and Lahore.
The ambassador expressed his intention to introduce Portugal’s contributions to global culture, economy and international relations. LCCI President Kashif Anwar, Senior Vice President Zafar Mahmood Chaudhry, Vice President Adnan Khalid Butt, Honorary Consul of Portugal Iftikhar Firoz and Executive Committee members also spoke on the occasion. The ambassador provided an overview of Portugal’s population of 11 million, making it the 40th largest economy in the world with a per capita GDP of $14,000. He highlighted Portugal’s active role in the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP), stressing the potential for shared learning and cooperation between Portugal and Pakistan, particularly in overcoming financial challenges based on Portugal’s experiences from 2010 to 2014.
Portugal’s impressive economic growth was also discussed, with the Ambassador noting that it is currently the second fastest-growing economy in the European Union. He attributed this success to the country’s strong export sector, which serves as a major driver of the economy. Moreover, the Ambassador pointed out Portugal’s exceptional tourism industry, ranking 10th globally in terms of tourist arrivals. He highlighted the allure of Portugal’s rich cultural heritage, attracting visitors from around the world.
Addressing Portugal’s commitment to sustainability, the Ambassador shared that the country relies on 70 percent renewable energy sources, showcasing its dedication to combating climate change and fostering a greener future. He mentioned Portugal’s possession of the largest GPS system, demonstrating the nation’s technological advancements.
Speaking on the occasion, LCCI President Kashif Anwar said that Pakistan and Portugal have been keeping excellent diplomatic relations for more than seven decades. There are a number of MoUs and agreements already signed between two countries to further deepen the mutual ties. He said that they take Portugal as an important trading partner in Europe and fortunately Pakistan is having favourable balance of trade with Portugal. He said that Portugal comes at 11th place among the top exporting destinations and at 19th place among the top importing member states from Europe. It is good to observe that overall trade is following a growing trend for the last few years but we are keen to acquire better share in bilateral trade. Last year, Portugal’s global imports were to the tune of 115 billion dollars and total exports were more than 82 billion dollars.
He said that according to the trade data sought from State Bank of Pakistan, the value of total trade between Pakistan and Portugal stood around 284 million dollars in 2021-22. Pakistan’s exports to Portugal were around 271 million dollars while the imports from Portugal were around 13 million dollars in the same period. During the first ten months of current financial year, the imports from Portugal amounted to 9 million dollars while Pakistan’s exports to Portugal were nearly 186 million dollars. “You will agree with me that we need to make concerted efforts to enhance the present volume of trade to at least 1 billion dollars.” He said that textile items are mostly exported from Pakistan to Portugal followed by rice and raw hides & skins. Both the countries need to identify more tradable items to enhance the current level of trade.
“I am pleased to know that you are interested to explore trade and investment opportunities between Pakistan & Portugal in sectors like informational technology, renewable energy, surgical instruments, footwear, leather goods and electrical equipment etc.,” he said and assured the ambassador that Pakistan has tremendous potential to fulfill the demand of Portugal in these sectors. Furthermore, Pakistan also has great potential to enhance economic cooperation in tourism, agriculture and education sectors. He mentioned that recently an understanding was reached during the 3rd Round of Bilateral Political Consultations between two countries held in Lisbon. He said that as agreed in these sessions, Pakistan and Portugal would enhance cooperation in areas like water management, blue economy, green technologies and employment opportunities for Pakistani workforce. The LCCI president said that best way to materialise these objectives is to increase private to private contacts. He said that through exchanging timely information about trade and business opportunities through chambers of commerce, they can bring noticeable change in current state of affairs. Moreover, exchange of trade delegations along with holding single country exhibitions can also help in attaining the desirable results.