Portuguese minister confident of 'robust' economy despite Brexit uncertainty
Updated 14:34, 31-Jan-2019
By CGTN Global Business
Despite many EU countries sounding an alarm about the impact of a chaotic Brexit on the bloc's economy, Pedro Siza Vieira, Portuguese economy minister, expressed confidence about the nation's economic prospects. 

Strong growth in exports and investments

As a no-deal Brexit becomes increasingly possible, given that the UK is one of Portugal's major trading partners, many wonder whether the Portuguese economy could keep its growth momentum and continue to outperform its EU peers.
"Brexit is a factor that affects the (EU) economy as a whole. But the progress we have made in the past few years, with the significant growth in exports outpacing the growth in the external markets and a very significant surge in corporate and private investments, they will support the growth (of the Portuguese economy) in the next few years," Vieira explained.
Porto, the second-largest city in Portugal. / VCG PHOTO

Porto, the second-largest city in Portugal. / VCG PHOTO

But recent data from the National Statistics Institute show that Portugal's third-quarter GDP grew 0.3 percent month-on-month, slower than last quarter's 0.6 percent, owing to declining exports. Will exports trend lower because of the worries surrounding Brexit in 2019?
"In an economy which is open to the world and more and more supported by exports, you have to be affected by how the external evolves. But in any case, all the projections show that Portugal is still growing faster than the EU average. This puts us in a good position in the next few years. If you look at how the economy changed, the weight of exports to GDP now equals 44 percent. The number was less than 30 percent just ten years ago. We want to move the target to 50 percent. This is something we will work really hard to achieve," Vieira said.
The minister also noted that more preferential policies, including tax cuts, will be unveiled in the future to support investment and differentiate exports. Another priority that the Portuguese government concentrates on is to attract more talent, especially Portuguese citizens. "We are focusing very much on attracting those Portuguese that were left behind when the jobs were destroyed because of the economic crisis. We are creating jobs at a very significant rate. We need their talent, their skills. They are probably the best that Portugal has," Vieira said.

China-Portugal relations

According to Eurostat, the trade volume between China and Portugal grew to more than three billion U.S. dollars in the first 10 months of 2018, up 10.3 percent from a year ago. Regarding the economic cooperation in the future between the two nations, Vieira pointed out that "China is a very good friend of Portugal. The two countries trust each other and recognize each other as good trading and investment partners. China is now very interested in developing strong connections with the EU, particularly in areas such as ports and railways. Portugal doesn't discriminate the origin of the investors. We welcome them from all over the world."