Envoy sees enhanced Portugal, Pakistan relations

ISLAMABAD: Joao Paulo Sabido Costa, the Charge d’ Affaires of Portugal has said relations between Portugal and Pakistan are growing and improving very fast.

During 2016 we have witnessed an evident increase in trade ties, namely with regard to our exports.

Mr. Costa expressed these views while giving an exclusive interview to DNA.

He further said, several initiatives were meanwhile launched, as the Pakistan Portugal Business Council of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, or the Pakistan Portugal Business Forum that has been created in Portugal.

There is an awakening in our main economic institutions regarding the potential of Pakistan and as result many business and investment opportunities have been identified.
To a question he said, Portugal opened an Embassy in Karachi very early after the independence which was later transferred to Islamabad, where it is now.

There are no sensitive issues between our Governments and nor are there any difficult problems to solve.

When asked to identify areas where both countries can cooperate, he said, there were a lot of areas in which we could cooperate. “ As an example I would mention, renewable energies, and the interest that the Pakistani market already shows for our machinery and technological knowhow”.

There is in Pakistan an evident interest in cork products of all kinds – let us remember that cork is, inclusive, employed for cricket material – or olive oil. Pakistan has also products which are of great interest us, and that besides basmati rice or mango that we relish so much. And we cannot forget the interest that Pakistani investors are showing in our market.

He said, since 2012 there is a new incentive for non EU nationals to invest in Portugal commonly known as Golden Visa.

This is in fact a Residence Permit for Investment Program that enables the holder to obtain a temporary residence permit to conduct business activities.

The investment should last for five years and can either be a capital transfer with a value of 1 million Euros, a purchase of real estate property with a value of 500 thousand Euros, capital transfer with the value of 350 thousand Euros for investing in research activities or of 250 thousand Euros for investing in artistic output or supporting the arts, for reconstruction or refurbishment of the national heritage.

The holder is entitled to family reunification and is exempt of visa for traveling within the Schengen area. After five years he can apply for permanent residence and after six years he can also apply for Portuguese citizenship, for which here are other criteria which need to be fulfilled.

In energy sector he said, Portugal has undeniable know how in the area of renewable energy, as well as of hydroelectric power.

That is an advantage recognized by our Pakistani counterparts at all levels and can provide a promising field of cooperation.

If we keep in mind, for example, the potential in Pakistani territory in respect of wind and solar energy, we will have to admit that both our countries and economies can cooperate and greatly benefit from such ventures.

“The business climate in Pakistan is definitely improving with the opening of the country to the world, as well as with the bettering of the security situation. It is undeniable, also, that the China Pakistan Economic Corridor that will link China to the Arabian Sea, will be a regional game changer and will offer many business and investment opportunities, also to Portuguese companies”.

To a question about Brexit Mr. Costa said, this issue after the official notification of withdrawal by the British government, is being discussed within the European Union and with the United Kingdom.

In the first place, we should bear in mind the dominant role of democracy and the people’s will for choosing their country’s path. Democracy is the basis of the European Union and we must always respect it.

But I am sure that both sides will finish by finding a balanced and mutually beneficial agreement that will frame a constructive future relationship, for we should always believe in the power of talks and cooperative negotiation.

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