The last and only major economic mission organized in Portugal dates from 2010, the Grand Duke had gone there on a state visit and an official (ministerial) mission had accompanied him. Since then, official visits have been regular between the ministers of the two countries. In addition to strengthening financial exchanges, Luxembourg and Portugal have meanwhile agreed to integrate the development of theirs bilateral start-up ecosystems. Two MoUs were signed during Prime Minister Costa’s visit to Luxembourg in 2017. Another MoU was signed in the space sector, and another in the research sector.
The next official mission organized from May 10 to 13 is a government initiative, accompanied by a financial mission organized by the Chamber of Commerce. The program is already established and the Chamber of Commerce has sent more than 5,000 emails to targeted Luxembourg companies to inform them about the program and the possibility of creating business opportunities during this mission. “The Chamber of Commerce is the contact operator with the private sector on the Luxembourg side and the Agency for Investment and Foreign Trade in Portugal (AICEP) takes care of the Portuguese side within the framework of this economic mission” , explains Cindy Tereba, Director of International Affairs at the Chamber of Commerce. “We have focused on companies in the ICT, tourism, aerospace, sustainable construction and financial sectors that have common interests with the business opportunities and ecosystems currently developing in Portugal. We expect between 50 and 80 companies to form an economic delegation on site. Luxembourg For Finance, Startup Luxembourg and Luxinnovation will also support them.”
As a teaser, the Chamber of Commerce is organizing this Wednesday at a webinar to praise the advantages of the new sectors in Portugal in the above areas where Antonio Gamito (Portuguese Ambassador to Luxembourg) and Conrad Bruch (Luxembourg’s Ambassador to Portugal) speak. To make things concrete, the Losch Group will testify to its successful development in Portugal through the manager of Losch Digital Lab, an automotive research and development office based in Porto, whose visit is also on the program of the May 10 economic mission. The floor will be left to the participants in the form of a chat whose questions will be raised by the live moderator. To date, one hundred companies have already registered.
Go Portugal: useful contacts
The Portuguese community (about 150,000 people) established in Luxembourg and in the border area already contributes to the country’s economy and naturally promotes the emergence of commercial exchanges or services to Portugal. Whether it is conquering new markets, investing, exporting products, finding a local partner or investor, any entrepreneur or any business that chooses to develop in Portugal can benefit from Luxembourg support. . The first to contact is the International Affairs department of the Chamber of Commerce, which has a specialist for each market area. A program called “Go International” allowing them to be supported with a funnel panel of services, depending on the nature of their activity and their goals. Economic missions were organized in 2021 in China, Poland, Romania-Moldova, United Arab Emirates and Japan. Luxembourg is also present until March 31 at Dubai World Expo under the national flag.
There are no typical steps, because the support is completely tailored. “We already have well-established companies approaching us who just want to deepen a contact, and others who need to be taken completely by hand on the basics. First we meet, then we identify targets (partners, distributors, establishing a subsidiary on site, etc.), then we create logical connections with the identified networks.”
The Chamber of Commerce encourages interested companies to follow the economic missions abroad, as it provides the opportunity to “feel the business” and to build direct business-to-business relationships. In addition, the Go International program regularly and free of charge offers companies registered with the Chamber of Commerce the opportunity to participate in economic missions to foreign markets, to organize pre-arranged tailor-made business meetings, to, in cooperation with local partners, to participate in trade fairs under national flags ( like Mipim recently for estate agents), or to carry out accompanied visits, as well as receiving foreign delegations in Luxembourg.
Another possible interlocutor: the Agency for Investment and Foreign Trade in Portugal (AICEP). Any Luxembourg company or entrepreneur wishing to invest in Portugal, especially in structuring investment projects, can count on AICEP’s support at all stages of the investment process. “AICEP is in a privileged position to establish contacts with companies, business associations and other Portuguese economic actors in the public and private sectors, as well as to provide all the information necessary to do business in Portugal, not only from an investment point of view or procurement perspective, but also from a commercial collaboration with Portuguese entities,” explains Rui Paulo Almas, AICEP Director at the Portuguese Embassy in Belgium (Benelux market).
The Chamber of Commerce and AICEP work together. In both cases, the aim is to connect Luxembourgish and foreign businesses, promote exchanges and kick-start bilateral relations.