During his visit to Porto on March 24, Philippine Ambassador to Portugal Philippe J. Lhuillier met with Dr. José Antonio Barros, Chairman of the General Council of the Associação Empresarial de Portugal (AEP).
AEP, also known as the Portuguese Chamber of Commerce, is one of the oldest and most influential Chamber of Commerce in Portugal. It is based in Porto, which aside from being Portugal’s second most important city after Lisbon, is the commercial and financial hub of the northern region of Portugal where 70% of Portugal’s exports are produced. As head of AEP, Dr. Barros meets with a small Ministerial cluster together with the Prime Minister and the Deputy Minister twice a month for consultations related to economic and business matters.
During their meeting, Ambassador Lhuillier and Dr. Barros discussed the need for the Philippines and Portugal to revitalize its trade ties and enhance economic activities between the two countries. Insights were shared on how both countries could serve as gateways to their respective regional markets. In the case of Portugal, this also includes the Community of Portuguese Language Countries in addition to the European Union (EU).
Ambassador Lhuillier encouraged Dr. Barros to have AEP seriously consider Southeast Asia as a market, with the Philippines serving as an ideal gateway for Portuguese businesses wishing to tap that market due to the shared Latin heritage and socio-cultural commonalities between the Philippines and Portugal.
Among the activities that were discussed at the meeting is a possible business mission by AEP to the Philippines.
Press release and photo courtesy of the Department of Foreign Affairs, 01 April 2014.