Outsystems, United, A.M.Y. Biotechnologies and Pinto Balsemão honoured at annual AmCham Tributes
Portugal’s Minister of the Economy, Pedro Siza Vieira joined US Ambassador George E. Glass on Thursday to present the annual AmCham Awards (American Chamber of Commerce in Portugal) to those companies who have done the most to promote bi-lateral relations between the two countries over the past year.
This year’s recipients at the Lisbon gala event at the Marriot Hotel were United Airlines represented by Thorsten Lettnin, Portuguese unicorn Outsystems, represented by Rui Pereira, and A.M.Y Biotechnologies AMYRIS Portugal represented by Shannon Griffin.
Also picking up an award for his “tireless efforts” to promote bi-lateral trade between US companies in Portugal and Portuguese companies in the US was Dr. Rodolfo Lavrador, ex-executive director of Portuguese state-owned bank Caixa Geral de Depósitos (CGD) and who currently runs the bank’s operations in the United States.
Since 2015, Lavrador has been President of the Portuguese US Chamber of Commerce of New York and General Manager of the New York branch of CGD since 2014.
The special award for the AmCham Tributes went to media mogul and founder of Portugal’s PSD Party, Pinto Balsemão and CEO of SIC TV for his service to the media in Portugal and the expansion and success of SIC International in the United States and elsewhere which has an audience of 10 million viewers around the globe.
Ambassador Glass used the event as a platform to explain why the United States had nothing against Chinese economic success and stressed that many thousands of young Chinese students had studied in America.
But he did call time on both China’s unfair playing field when it came to US investment in China and why he didn’t want the Huawei 5G network in Portugal.
Huawei has been one of the suppliers to telecommunications companies in Portugal but has pressured the Portuguese government to keep Chinese involvement in the latest generation of mobile networks out of Portugal.
Glass said that fact that a substantial number of investments in Portugal had been made by companies in the banking, telecommunications and energy sector controlled by the Chinese government was an unfair advantage and explained that the fact that the US has democratic values has impeded the US Government to accept business practices by authoritarian governments overseas both in law and in practice.
The concern is not only over unfair competition but security and NATO. Portugal is one of the United State’s closest allies and the sharing of critical information via networks is, in his government’s view, not secure and could affect relations between Portugal and the United States.
The ambassador praised, however, the efforts of Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa in fostering the growing trade relations between both the United States and Portugal which are favourable to Portugal and now worth an estimated €4Bn between Portuguese companies and the US in 2017.
The ambassador said how much he had enjoyed escorting António Costa around the United States and joked “I took Costa from costa to costa.” (I took Mr Coast from coast to coast”)
Portuguese media mogul and one of the founders of Portugal’s democracy, Francisco Pinto Balsemão stressed the importance of free and well-investigated journalism in a world too often dominated by fake news.
Balsemão was the founder of the weekly newspaper Expresso and SIC TV, a founder of Portugal’s centre-right PSD party and a one-time prime minister of Portugal.
Regarding OutSystems, founded by Paulo Rosado, Portugal succeeded in gaining a record in terms of annual investment in 2018 and was the 6th country with the greatest growth rate in Europe (Slush & Orrick – State of European Technology) partly thanks to companies like OutSystems.
The technology sector in Portugal is booming partly thanks to the Portuguese unicorn which is worth an estimated €IBn.
The contribution of US airline United to booming bi-lateral trade and business relations between the United States and Portugal (up 23%) was also highlighted. The airline company has opened routes between Lisbon and Washington and Porto and New York.