With the aim of promoting business opportunities in the Automotive and Aerospace sectors between Portugal and the UK, UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) in Lisbon, in cooperation with the Portuguese Association of Suppliers to the Automotive Industry (AFIA) and the Portuguese Aerospace Industry Association (PEMAS), hosted a conference in the city of Oporto on 28 May 2014.
Over 60 Portuguese organizations attended this event which aimed to promote the best that both Portugal and the UK have to offer in the both industries and also presented an invaluable networking opportunity through one-to-one meetings with the UK business delegation which included Datum Tool Design Ltd, Delcam UK, Clinty Regen and WIS Group.
As Antony Hall from Delcam UK said:
It was a great opportunity for us, to learn more about the opportunities in Portugal, meet new contacts, deepen existing relationships in Portugal, and to meet UK companies.
The Automotive Sector in Portugal
The Automotive industry is a centre pillar of the Portuguese economy. It represents 177 companies and 5 car manufacturers, 4.3% of the GDP and 8.9% of exports, mobilizing a workforce of about 40,000 people. These exports represent 80.5% of the turnover of the companies in the sector. The UK is the 4th export destination, with 6.5% of the total. The main products exported are batteries, glass, interiors, tires, metal works, cables, electronics and plastic moulds – linked to the highly developed mould and tooling industry in the country.
Portuguese technical skills in this field, the highly competitive set up and running costs, together with the country’s excellent logistic infrastructures have been a driving force in this sector.
Portugal’s commitment in the development of a sustainable automotive sector goes beyond developing high quality vehicles and components, being a pioneer in the development and adoption of new energy models for sustainable mobility.
The Aerospace Sector
The Portuguese aeronautic industry may be small in scale and relatively recent when compared with other countries, but with a strong industrial base in several areas - aircraft interior design, new and eco-efficient materials solutions, metallic construction and assembly, smart materials and embedded systems integration amongst others - with enormous potential that in the past few years demonstrated the necessary tenacity to thrive in the competitive aerospace market.
Portugal is one of the world’s most advanced manufacturing centres for precision injection and blow moulding. 90% is exported, primarily to the automotive manufacturers and now diverting to Aerospace. The new factories of Embraer in Portugal are acting as a catalyst to develop skills and markets. The presence of larger players gives room to supply chain opportunities to be developed in Portugal, or using the country as a platform to other Portuguese speaking countries.
Carlos Fernandes, Senior Trade & Investment Adviser at UKTI Portugal said:
The Automotive and Aerospace sectors have seen a huge development over the past years, particularly with the creation of new and innovative clusters which aim to meet the industry’s supply chain needs within the high-growth Advanced Engineering field. These are key areas for UKTI’s work in Portugal and we will continue to support British businesses looking to export as well as Portuguese innovative companies with the ambition to set up in the competitive UK market.
John Kell, UKTI Technology Specialist for Advanced Engineering, was also one of the guest speakers at this event to talk about investment opportunities into the UK market and the recently launched AIO - Automotive Investment Organization was also presented – it is the UKTI led entity which aims to help increase investment in the UK automotive sector, bringing the automotive industry expertise into government.
Feedback from both the UK and Portuguese participants in this initiative was extremely positive, particularly with the level of contacts made during networking opportunities.
Further initiatives on the Automotive and Aerospace sectors will follow – send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more!