Portugal almost doubled the value of its exports to Qatar in the first half of 2016 compared to the same period last year amid “improving” trade relations between the two countries, according to an official.
Arab-Portugal Chamber of Commerce secretary general and CEO Dr Aida Bouabdellah said from January to June, Portugal’s total exports to Qatar amounted to €15.6mn, while imports stood at €7.2mn.
“We have very good relations with Qatar. Our trade balance has been improving throughout the years,” Bouabdellah told Gulf Times on the sidelines of a meeting held with Qatar Chamber officials in Doha today.
She said in 2015, Portugal’s exports to Qatar amounted to around €17.7mn compared with around €19mn in 2014.
“Portugal imported from Qatar around €19.1mn worth of products in 2015 compared with €16.9mn in 2014, said Bouabdellah, who accompanied seven Portuguese companies during the meeting.
She said the top products exported by Portugal to Qatar in in 2015 were stone and plaster, cement, and ceramic, representing around 20% of the total exports. Trailing behind was textiles, followed by goods and other products, she also said.
“Portugal also exported some base metals and articles such as machinery, electric materials, and other products. On the other hand, topping the list of imports are plastics and others, representing almost 97%. This was followed by textiles and other products,” she said.
Citing Portugal’s technical and industrial base, Bouabdellah said the country also specialises in classic industries, textile, shoes, glass, construction materials, food stuff, health sector and others. She also noted that Portugal exports €1bn worth of shoes per year.
She noted that there are also several high-level institutions and companies from countries such as Europe, the US, Japan, and China that are investing in Portugal.
Qatar Chamber board member Ali Abdullatif al-Misnad said, “I think there is a common ground between Qatar and Portugal…It is important that we learn from each other and that both countries keep the trade balance at a level that we wish to increase more and more so, we have to see the best way to encourage that.”
Daniel Pontes, economic and commercial attache at the Portuguese Embassy in Doha, said there are 10 major Portuguese companies operating in Qatar in the engineering, architecture, construction, marketing, interior design, technology, and property management sectors.