Portugal Would Turn its Back on GBA by Closing Its Trade Agency´s Office in Guangzhou

Guest article by: João Pedro Pereira, PORCHAM CEO


Guangzhou is the epicenter of the Great Bay Area (GBA). The GBA is the inclusive economically and political strategy to develop the south of China to a global international level. It’s a 90 millions people market that includes also Macau and Hong Kong.

PORCHAM is the first Portuguese Chamber of Commerce and Industry with headquarters in China and in Guangzhou. Our strategy was based on the market of opportunities of the GBA, we have established strong ties with companies and institutions and we are working together to improve the bilateral relations between Portugal and China.

Since 2017 the work of Dario Silva, our Chairman of the Board, is a reference to China and to international partners. The Sino-Portuguese International Center for Commerce, Investment and Development created in partnership with the Reform and Development Committee for the Portuguese speaking countries, based in Guangzhou is one of the best examples of that.

Recently Dário Silva was invited, on behalf of PORCHAM, for the position of International Relations Director at the Investment Association of China, that brings together all the big companies interested in investing abroad. Portugal and Portuguese Speaking Countries are a focus group for Chinese investors.

PORCHAM is also playing an important role at the China CEO’s Association with the most important entrepreneurs and businessmen of China.

New investments are in the pipeline, for Portugal, China and Portuguese speaking countries in a new and innovative partnership model of cooperation.

PORCHAM with associates that represent more than 4 billion of Euros in business volume annually, is promoting hundreds of million euros of investment projects already.

PORCHAM’s strategy is now a reference for Iberoamerican Countries. Joao Pedro Pereira, PORCHAM’s CEO, was invited and included in a business group of Iberoamerican Companies to share knowledge and experiences of developing business throughout Guangzhou and Guangdong province.

Why should Portugal quit Guangzhou and Guangdong Province closing AICEP office when everyone in the world is interested in the region?! The biggest GDP in China, 2 millionaires for each 1000 inhabitants (China’s average is 1 per 1000), some of the 500 biggest companies in the world are in Guangdong province, with the GBA developing and attracting billions in investments in core areas of IT, Robotics, Electric Vehicles, biotechnology, Artificial Intelligence, etc

If Portugal closes the AICEP office in Guangzhou, it will lose almost 5 years of a work of excellence done by Mario Ferreira the most experienced and competent AICEP human resource in China.

AICEP’s presence in China needs to be organized better, they cannot continue losing the best HR like Mariana Wilson, who did a quite frankly excellent job recruiting investment for Portugal, and now Mário Ferreira.

China demands the best HR possible, good examples like Mariana Wilson and Mário Ferreira.

Portugal’s presence needs also a Strategic Council near the head of Diplomatic Mission, including the most important stakeholders from the private sector, companies, chambers of commerce, Banco Nacional Ultramarino, the International Business Centre of Madeira, the Macau Forum Portugal’s representative. With the IT available is possible to have this council working in benefit of Portuguese interests in China.

Until now there is no effort at all from the diplomatic mission to include these stakeholders and if this kind of spirit continues some changes on the diplomatic mission and AICEP should be done to improve our presence in China.

Portugal needs people with vision and strategy working on the ground for the superior interest of the country not people concerned only with their own belly button.


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