With the constant growth of national exports, there are segments of the economy that are of paramount importance in the coming years. Construction, e-commerce, agri-food and automotive were the sectors highlighted in the 13th edition of Portugal Exporter.
National exports are in good health – by the end of the year they should reach 45% of GDP – but it is necessary to diversify markets and expand the export base. This was the main message left at the 13th edition of Portugal Exporter, held at the Lisbon Congress Center on Wednesday. Eurico Brilhante Dias, Secretary of State for Internationalization, defended the need for "a new wave of export growth" so that they reach 50% of GDP by the middle of the next decade. At the same time, the heads of the AIP Foundation and AICEP, Jorge Rocha de Matos and Luís Castro Henriques, underlined the importance of innovation and technology in the future of Portuguese exports, and António Ramalho, CEO of Novo Banco, "Exporting companies grow three times more, have a higher net margin and, from a risk perspective, are 30% safer at the capitalization level."
Throughout the day, the sectors of automobile, construction, e-commerce and agro-food deserved particular highlight.
Exist to export
With industry turning to a turning point, the automotive sector leads exports of goods nationwide, earmarking almost all production to the external market. The four existing units ensure a production of more than 300 thousand vehicles / year, which makes Portugal integrate the category of countries with a consolidated industry at the sector level.
At Tramagal, the Mitsubishi unit is the oldest in the country – it started operating in 1964 – and is now focused on the production of electric light heavy-duty vehicles. "Decarbonization is something that's going to have to happen. By 2030, two-thirds of the world's population will live in urban centers, which poses challenges for mobility, "said Jorge Rosa, president of Mitsubishi Fuso, in one of the sessions of the day.
In search of new opportunities
The national agri-food industry now employs 112,000 people and generates an annual turnover of 17 billion euros. And while showing signs of vitality, the sector has room to evolve, especially in the way it operates in the foreign market. For Amândio Santos, president of Portugal Foods, "the country must mobilize to find new opportunities and new outlets". The official gave the example of the Spanish market which, although it absorbs a third of the sector's exports, has a very low unit value, since it mainly imports products with no added value. But Amândio Santos shows confidence in the future: "Nothing is easy for companies but the brand Portugal begins to have an important weight in the global context".
Build new markets
The construction sector is another segment of the Portuguese economy with the greatest growth potential in exports, with the United States of America being one of the most attractive markets today. The experience of Clarisse Frias, Media Consult, gives you this certainty. "What we have seen all along the coast of the United States is the expansion of these Portuguese companies," he said at one of the round tables of the day, stressing that there are many national materials to be imported by the United States.
Up Way Systems is one of the Portuguese companies that has already crossed the Atlantic. Alexandra Pinto, general manager, highlighted the importance that the differentiation had in the whole process of internationalization. "In a market like the US, where we have entered through digital marketing, we can not compete for the price," he said. The head of Up Way Systems also stressed the importance of the trust factor to enter this competitive market: the company was already present in the United Kingdom with iconic projects, developed in partnership with local companies, which gave greater guarantees to US companies.
In 2021 the value of eCommerce will reach 4800 billion dollars, said Marta Jorge, of the AICEP. "Companies that do not take advantage of this change will reduce margins or lose opportunities to grow," said the official, who identifies Germany, the United Kingdom, France and the United States as the main markets for Portugal, given their growth in appetite for eCommerce. "
For Rafic Daud of UnDandy – a shoe brand that sells custom-made models directly to customers – the absence of geographical or linguistic barriers is another of the advantages of digital commerce. However, this is also a segment where competition is made on a global scale. "The whole world is competing with us," stresses Rafic Daud, who has bet on product customization and adaptation to different markets as a way to make a difference.