By Saifur Rahman
Bilateral trade between Portugal and the UAE grew to US$394.20 million (€324 million) in 2020, up from US$358.3 million in 2019, according to a top official.
This reflects the fact that the two-way trade between the two countries increased during COVID-19 pandemic.
The volume of non-oil trade exchange between the two countries during the past 10 years amounted to about US$2.89 billion, while the mutual visits and trade missions were crowned with the signing of about 13 strategic partnership agreements.
“The UAE and Portugal share a very warm relationship and we see the UAE as an economic gateway for our products and services in to the Middle East. Portugal exported €210.3 million worth of goods to the UAE while it imported €113.7 million worth of goods from the UAE last year,” Joaquim Moreira De Lemos, Ambassador of Portugal to the UAE, told the Arabian Post.
He was talking on the sidelines of a trade exhibition at the Dubai World Trade Centre, where 26 Portuguese companies were showcasing their high-value home décor and hospitality décor products.
He said, his country is looking at offering high-value natural products to the UAE consumers.
“We are not in the market for low-quality and high-quantity products. Portugal has a lot of high-quality environmentally-friendly and natural products that fits into the luxury lifestyle of UAE’s cosmopolitan consumers and we are introducing products to suit their needs, he added.
Around 35 Portuguese companies are active in the UAE, while a greater number of Portuguese companies are being represented by a number of local businesses in the UAE. More than 1,029 Portuguese companies are exporting their products to the UAE.
The UAE is home to more than 6,000 Portuguese nationals living and working in the UAE.
After falling sharply in 2020, GDP is projected toincrease by 3.7 percent in 2021 and 4.9 percent in 2022, according to a report by the OECD. Portugal faced one of the world’s worst surges in COVID-19 infections in early 2021. Hospitals almost reached full capacity, putting pressure on the healthcare system. A second national lockdown was imposed in mid-January for two months.
Since March, containment measures have been progressively lifted as the sanitary situation improved. The rollout of vaccination has been constrained by the slow supply of vaccines as in other European countries. About 70 percent of the population are expected to be vaccinated by August, according to the national vaccination plan.
“Economic activity is set to pick up with the progressive lifting of containment measures and the recovery of tourism, especially from European countries, during the 2021 summer season. As vaccination accelerates and the EU support starts being implemented, GDP growth is projected to reach 4.9 percent in 2022,” the report said.
Portugal’s investments in the UAE, between 2018 and 2019, stood at around €20 million, the Ambassador said.
“The UAE investment in Portugal, after a period of growth from 2015 to 2018, registered a drop in 2019, but during the last five years, we registered a growth of 13 percent,” Joaquim Moreira De Lemos said. “Between Jan./Sep. 2020 comparing to the same period in 2019, the UAE investment in Portugal increased 33.5 percent with a value of 32.2 million euros.”
The Ambassador said, Portugal will demonstrate its natural and sustainability products and superior services at the Expo 2020.
“We have developed a large pavilion spread across 2,000 square metres plot of land that cost us €20 million to build,” Joaquim Moreira De Lemos said. “A large number of delegates from Portugal will visit the Expo 2020 and we are upbeat about the mega event.”
He said, Portugal has been participating at various exhibitions and conferences in the UAE to promote its products and services in the UAE.
“The regular presence of the brand Associative Design – The Best of Portugal since 2016 in renowned events of the Middle East, such as Dubai Design Week, Downtown Design Dubai, Idf Oman and the Hotel Show Dubai, allow the expansion of the brand and the promotion of ‘The Best of Portugal ‘in the surrounding markets in order to take advantage of the investment initiated in the region in 2016,” he said.
“Bringing Portuguese flair and creativity to the Middle East, the Associative Design showcase will present a Concept of a Portuguese House, with products 100% designed and produced in Portugal.
“In this show, visitors had the chance to see a mix of innovation, sustainability and contemporary design apply in the furniture, lighting, textiles and objects d’art included in this exhibition.”