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Portugal getting closer to China
It has emerged that Portugal is interested in, and studying the possibility of having direct flights to China, to attract more Chinese tourists to Portugal, according to Portuguese Economy Minister António Pires de Lima who along with other Ministers this week accompanied the Portuguese President Aníbal Cavaco Silva on a trip to the Far East.
Portugal getting closer to China

“It is an investment that we would like to study in more detail that could contribute towards noticeable growth on top of the already-significant visits by Chinese to Portugal”, the Economy Minister said during the official visit.

Pires de Lima also stressed that, in his view, “the trust” that is today established between Lisbon and Beijing is “a determining basis” for the growth of Chinese investment in Portugal.

He made the statements during an hour-long meeting that the two Statesmen had on 13th with a group of Chinese business representatives, among them the head of China Eastern Airlines, which is one of the country’s three largest airlines.

After the meeting Pires de Lima told journalists that both parties “believe it is important to intensify tourism ties between the two countries.”

“For that, the establishment of a direct air link between Portugal and China could become very important in the future”, the Portuguese Minister added.

In 2013 almost 100 million Chinese nationals travelled beyond mainland China.

In Europe, France and Spain are two of the most popular destinations for Chinese tourists and a number of direct flights between them are already in place.

Also joining the Portuguese President on his official visit to China alongside the Economy Minister are Portugal’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Rui Machete, and Education and Science Minister, Nuno Crato.

In related news, in March it emerged that since the so-called ‘Gold Visas’ were introduced in October 2012, the majority of them have been snapped up by Chinese nationals.

Of the 772 ‘Gold Visas’ issued by Portugal since they were introduced, 612 were granted to Chinese nationals and a further 400 Chinese are said to be on a waiting list for the permits, which allow foreign nationals to reside in Portugal and move within Schengen countries without a visa for short periods of time in exchange for investments of at least half a million euros.

Since the Gold Visa scheme was launched in October 2012 the permit has earned Portugal €464 million in investment.

The demand for Gold Visas from China has led the head of Portugal’s SEF borders and immigration service, Manuel Palos, to ask the government to assign a SEF inspector to that country during the course of this year.

Business-wise, China is currently Portugal’s tenth biggest client, with Portugal recently registering a growth in exports to that country.
Over the past two years two large State-owned Chinese companies - China Three Gorges and China State Grid – have invested more than €3 billion in Portuguese energy companies EDP and REN, respectively.

In January the private consortium Fosun, which is based in Shanghai, offered more than €1 billion for 80 percent of the Caixa Geral de Depósito bank’s insurance wing, Caixa Seguros
  Source: The Portugal News

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