Economic Forum in the UK aims to strengthen Portugal “as an investment destination”

Economic Forum in the UK aims to strengthen Portugal “as an investment destination”

Story by Anna Bergström | Photo by Paulo Vaz Henriques

LONDON, 11 April (Portugal IN)  – The magnificent Bloomberg facilities in central London were the stage of the first edition of “Portugal – UK Economic Forum”, with presence of Portugal’s PM, António Costa, and several other governmental representatives. The event was organized by the Portuguese investment agency, AICEP, and the governmental task force created in the wake of the Brexit Referendum, Portugal IN.

Before an audience bursting with interested investors with their eyes set on Portugal, the Economic Forum was a piece of Portugal’s ambitious action plan in order to mitigate the negative effects of Brexit and to showcase what Portugal has to offer companies and investors in this economic, social and political moment of European history.

The Minister of Economy, Manuel Caldeira Cabral, stressed that Portugal is experiencing a very positive economic climate, and has made a remarkable economic recovery since the crises that struck the country some 9 years ago. The Secretary of State of Internationalization, Eurico Brilhante Dias, pointed out that Portugal is well-placed to compete with other EU-countries in the quest of FDI since the country has many valuable assents, apart from its sunny climate. They range from a safe and stable political environment to competitive real-estate prices, and a flat 20 percent tax rate for expat employees. Investments in digital infrastructure and education were highlighted as key factors — particularly for the tech sector.

Several speakers underlined that the two countries share the world’s oldest diplomatic alliance — dating back to 1386 — and that Portugal and Britain enjoy strong economic ties. The U.K. is Portugal’s fourth biggest export market for goods, worth €3.66 billion last year. When it comes to services — mostly tourism — Britain is even more important, bringing in €4.49 billion. Exchanges have increased since Britain’s 2016 vote to leave the EU: Portugal’s overall exports to the U.K. rose 9.6 percent last year, British foreign investment stock in Portugal increased to €9.9 billion.

PM António Costa, who straight after the conference was headed for a bilateral meeting with his British counterpart Teresa May, stressed that Portugal is keen to maintain close ties to the UK after Brexit. “We want a good Brexit solution, a solution that allows the U.K. to leave the European Union, but not to leave Europe”, he said.

What Portugal proposes the British companies and investors in the UK, by the words of the Portuguese PM is a “2 in 1”: “Remain in the UK and expand your business into the EU, by investing in Portugal”

9:00 Registration and coffee
9:30 Welcome from:
– Constantin Cotzias – Director Bloomberg Europe
– H.E. Mr. Eurico Brilhante Dias – Secretary of State of Internationalisation
9:50 Keynote Speeches: Portugal- U.K. Bilateral Relationship, an Expanding Alliance
– Luis Castro Henriques – Chairman & CEO AICEP Portugal Global
– Bernardo Trindade – CEO Portugal IN
10:20 Panel – Foreign Direct Investment Trends & Insights
Portugal has created an economic and regulatory climate that is very favourable to foreign direct investment. Corporate taxes have decreased, while new investment incentives have been established, as the Non-Habitual Residence Status, the Golden Residence Permit and the Expatriate’s Flat Tax rate of 20%, making Portugal very attractive for nearshoring operations. R&D and Productive investment tax credits were improved and Job Creation tax exemptions and grants are also available. During 2017 alone, U.K. investment in Portugal increased 5 fold, as the U.K became the 4th largest investor after Luxembourg, France and Netherlands. The foreign direct investment stock rose to 9.9 billion Euros.
Moderator: Mark Gregory – Chief Economist EY
– Andrew Thomis – CEO Cohort Plc
– Charles Nasser – CEO Claranet
– Carl Grivner – CEO Colt Technology Services
– Q&A
11:00 Coffee break
11:20 Panel – The Tech Lead Generation: Innovation and Finance
New trends in finance technology have stimulated technological innovation and rendered financial markets and systems more efficient. New co-investment platforms have also arisen and selective impact investment players strengthened the London-Lisbon technological bridge to levels unknown before. This expanded partnership is scattered across Portugal, as U.K. tech star companies have also been establishing innovation hubs in Porto, Braga and Coimbra, among other cities.
Moderator: Greg Williams – Editor-in-chief WIRED
– Nuno Sebastião – Chairman & CEO Feedzai
– Henry Wigan – Co-Founder & Director of Investment Mustard Seed
– Gonçalo de Vasconcelos – Co- Founder & CEO Syndicate Room
– Q&A
12:00 His Excellency Mr. António Costa, Prime Minister of Portugal