Portugal keen to tap deeper into China market

By Ai Yang (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-11-07 07:56
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Related video: Exclusive interview with Portuguese Ambassador to China


Beijing - Portugal will help small and medium enterprises (SME) set up business in China as more find the Asian market profitable, said the Portuguese ambassador to China.

"The economic environment in Europe is sometimes very hard, (and that's why) they are looking for a new market (in China)," Jose Tadeu Soares, Portuguese ambassador to Beijing told China Daily in an exclusive interview.

Soares made the remarks ahead of President Hu Jintao's state visit to Portugal. He said Hu will, with his Portuguese counterpart Anibal Cavaco Silva, discuss "bilateral relations, the relationship between Europe and China, the coming G20 summit in Seoul and other specific problems".

With the shift in economy, China has gradually become more attractive for small as well as big enterprises from abroad.

"We are now trying to make life and work easier for smaller companies."

Soares said the embassy's commercial service is approached by Portuguese SMEs every week looking for business opportunities in China.

"I'm receiving letters and requests. Last week it was a company about plastics, before that, it was a furniture company (in the end) some get the courage and come." Soares said.

"The bigger companies already have the knowledge. From November, the largest Portuguese factRory in the cement industry will start operating in the south of China, not very far away from Shanghai."

Soares said "there is no concern at all" about the Chinese investment environment for foreign companies, but the only worry now is how to facilitate SMEs who are eager to explore the new market in China.

"The first steps start from translation of the language, knowing what taxes to pay and how to register as a company," the ambassador said.

According to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, trade volume between China and Portugal from January to July in 2010 totalled 1.02 billion euros, an increase of 43 percent compared with the same period last year.

Soares said the momentum of growth will continue. "Portugal is making an effort to adapt and adjust its economy to new challenges and new patterns," he said. Apart from that, Lisbon and Beijing are also talking about using Portugal's seaport, which is "a very important agenda", the ambassador added.