Portugal willing to discuss US investment
By Natasha Donn [email protected]
Strategic infrastructure plans for Portugal’s largest and most important shipping port at Sines near Setúbal will map out Portugal’s plan to economic and social development.
This is according to Portugal’s minister for infrastructure, Pedro Nuno Santos who recently unveiled Portugal’s ambitious Strategic Plan for Sines Port 2020-2025.
“This is our port. It belongs to the Portuguese people. The port of Sines is very important for Portugal and could become pivotal on an Iberian level,” he told the attendees of a ceremony at the headquarters of the Portuguese Ports Authority (APS).
The minister stressed that there is potential which Portugal is not yet taking advantage of, hence the need for the Strategic Plan that has already piqued the interest of Chinese investors.
Pedro Nuno Santos emphasised that the Government “is very available and willing for American investment in Portugal” nonetheless.
This comes after Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva said as much to the Financial Times earlier this year in response to criticism that: “Portugal was China’s ‘special friend’ in the EU”.
The masterplan for Sines goes way beyond it, becoming an energetic hub, said Mr. Santos. “We want the port to allow us to industrialise Portugal.”
Said Jornal Económico, the minister intimated that many Portuguese did not believe in the country’s potential, or in the projects already announced like ‘green hydrogen’ or the ‘railway cluster’.
Regarding the former, he said that the country has ‘unique conditions’ to produce hydrogen because 75% of the costs come from electricity, which can be produced here through wind and solar power (i.e., renewable sources that cost very little).
Mr. Santos stressed: “If we manage to be one of the first to get on this train, we can attract new areas of business to Portugal, new investments, new technologies.”
The railway cluster plan is more complex in as much as the gauges of Portugal’s tracks don’t conform to those used in the rest of Europe – meaning trains cannot run seamlessly even from Portugal to Spain, which started adopting European gauges 32 years ago.
A group headed by various political heavyweights outside of government has called on Brussels to “use all instruments at its disposal, including community funds” to make Portugal adopt European standards for both merchandise and passenger trains “by 2030 or a little later.”