"Portugal IN’s work was intense, but the results are in sight. Since 2017, around 40 companies in the United Kingdom have announced the opening of operations in Portugal," said Bernardo Trindade.
In the final stretch of the activity of the Portugal IN Mission Structure, it is important to take stock of these almost 3 years of work. In an uncertain calendar like Brexit’s, it was still a time that gave us the ability to intervene intensely in the giant market that is the United Kingdom. There is still a lot to do in attracting foreign investment. This is a never-ending job. But the planning, organisation and segmentation of the market have helped to achieve the proposed objectives.
We approached companies from China, India, Japan and the USA, the four largest foreign investors in the United Kingdom, carrying out events and missions to attract FDI. The Portugal Japan Seminar that we organized in London in partnership with AICEP, on December 3th, in the Financial Times, with the presence of the Prime Minister, is a proof of the growing interest of foreign investors in Portugal. There were around 100 participants, Japanese companies operating in the United Kingdom, who, driven by Brexit, are looking for new destinations to expand their business and maintain operations in the domestic market.
UK companies wishing to invest in Portugal may have a one in two: Brexit in the UK and Remain in the European Union. This was our motto!
We must be increasingly proactive in attracting foreign investment and working on all fronts. On the demand side, finding new markets and being open to all investors, large or small, that brings value and innovation to the country. On the supply side, it is important to provide our management structures with the means to make them more attentive to investment and, in particular, to foreign investors. The direct dependence on this structure of the Prime Minister gave us the ability to sit at the table all the Ministries and services of the administration that we considered it necessary for the improvement of processes that impact the FDI’s attraction.
Many were the projects we developed in this area. Streamlining the system for issuing visas and residence permits, particularly for investment, was an area where we were very committed, with frankly positive results. But there is still a lot to do! Strengthening our consular and internal administration structures for human, financial and digital resources is a priority. However, we also need a paradigm shift in the mindset and management model of these services.
Turning our administration abroad, making it friendlier to the investor, tourist or foreign resident, is a job that must continue. It’s very good when public bodies come together to make life easier for those who choose Portugal.
I would highlight the most recent partnership with the Ministries of Justice, Economy, Finance and Administrative Modernisation. The installation, in the ‘Empresa na Hora’ space, of the Company IN Counter, a fast track for the registration of foreign companies that want to set up in Portugal. The Instant Firm is a concept that works perfectly for the constitution of Portuguese companies but presents difficulties for foreign companies, namely due to the need to obtain NIF. With this new service, any citizen or foreign investor can create a company in about 30 minutes. We presented this project at the Web Summit and set up the Company IN counter at Startup Portugal’s stand. During the 3 days of the event, it was possible for all startups and foreign companies present in it to constitute their company.
The service is now available in Lisbon and Porto, but the idea is to extend it to the whole country and even make it available online.
Portugal IN’s work was intense, but the results are in sight! Since 2017, around 40 companies in the United Kingdom have announced the opening of operations in Portugal, allowing the creation of almost 2000 jobs, in an investment of almost 600 million Euros. The demand for Portugal has been transversal to the various sectors, but with more focus on business & financial services, software & IT, real estate, textiles and communications.
Attracting investment is a job for all. It creates jobs, brings innovation, contributes to our exports and increases tax revenue – it plays a key role in ensuring the growth of our economy.