Portugal Ambassador Manuel Frederico Pinheiro Silva during his visit to the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) expressed his intention to introduce Portugal’s contributions to global culture, economy, and international relations.
Drawing attention to his country’s history, he highlighted the 15th-century voyages of Portuguese explorers, which left lasting influences in parts of Pakistan, India, and other regions of Asia, where Portuguese families continue to reside.
The ambassador emphasized Portugal’s strong maritime tradition and extensive maritime jurisdiction, portraying the sea as an integral part of their identity. He provided an overview of Portugal’s population of 11 million, making it the 40th largest economy in the world with a per capita GDP of $14,000.
He highlighted Portugal’s active role in the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP), stressing the potential for shared learning and cooperation between Pakistan and Portugal, particularly in overcoming financial challenges based on Portugal’s experiences from 2010 to 2014.
Ambassador Manuel Silva emphasizes Portugal’s strong maritime tradition and extensive maritime jurisdiction, portraying sea as an integral part of their identity
Portugal’s economic growth was also discussed, with the envoy noting that it is currently the second fastest-growing economy in the European Union. He attributed this success to the country’s strong export sector, which serves as a major driver of the economy. He pointed out Portugal’s tourism industry, ranking 10th globally in terms of tourist arrivals.
Addressing commitment to sustainability, Ambassador Manuel Silva shared that the country relies on 70 percent renewable energy sources, showcasing its dedication to combating climate change and fostering a greener future. He mentioned Portugal’s possession of the largest GPS system, demonstrating the nation’s technological advancements.
Speaking on the occasion, LCCI President Kashif Anwar said that Pakistan and Portugal have been keeping excellent diplomatic relations for more than seven decades. “There are a number of memorandums and agreements already signed between the two countries to further deepen mutual ties,” he said.
“We take Portugal as an important trading partner in Europe and fortunately Pakistan is having favorable balance of trade with Portugal,” he said, adding that Portugal comes at 11th place among the top exporting destinations and at 19th place among the top importing member states from Europe. “We are keen to acquire better share in bilateral trade.”
Islamabad, Lisbon likely to enhance cooperation in water management, blue economy, green technologies and employment opportunities for Pakistanis
According to the trade data sought from the State Bank of Pakistan, he said that value of total trade between Pakistan and Portugal stood around 284 million dollars in 2021-22. Pakistan’s exports to Portugal were around 271 million dollars while imports from Portugal were around 13 million dollars in the same period.
During the first 10-month of current financial year, imports from Portugal amounted to nine million dollars while Pakistan’s exports to Portugal were nearly 186 million dollars. “You will agree with me that we need to make concerted efforts to enhance the present volume of trade to at least one billion dollars.”
Kashif Anwar said that textile items were mostly exported from Pakistan to Portugal followed by rice and raw hides and skins. “We need to identify more tradable items to enhance the current level of trade,” he said. “I am pleased to know that you are interested to explore trade and investment in informational technology, energy, surgical instruments, footwear, leather goods and electrical equipment etc.”
He assured the ambassador that Pakistan has tremendous potential to fulfill Portugal’s demands in these sectors. “We also have great potential to enhance economic cooperation in tourism, agriculture and education sectors.” Recently, he mentioned that an understanding was reached during the third round of bilateral political consultations, held in Lisbon.
As agreed in these sessions, Kashif Anwar said that Pakistan and Portugal would enhance cooperation in areas like water management, blue economy, green technologies and employment opportunities for Pakistani workforce. He said that the best way to materialize these objectives was to increase private contacts.
He said that through exchanging timely information about trade and business opportunities through chambers of commerce, “we can bring noticeable change in current state of affairs.” Moreover, he said that exchange of trade delegations along with holding single country exhibitions can also help in attaining the desirable results. Portugal’s honorary consul Iftikhar Firoz, LCCI leaders Zafar Mahmood, Adnan Khalid Butt, and Executive Committee members also spoke on the occasion.