Portugal’s minister for economy said on Thursday that foreign investment contracts secured by its agency for foreign trade and investment, AICEP, reached “a new high” in 2019, with private business investment up 9.2%.
Pedro Siza Vieira was addressing a joint session of the parliamentary committees on budget and finance and on economy, innovation, public works and housing that was considering the draft state budget for 2020, which had its first reading last week.
“We last year achieved the maximum level of foreign direct investment in our country that we have ever had,” the minister told deputies. “Once again foreign investment contracts secured by AICEP reached a new high, that is, private business investment in our country grew 9.2%.
“Despite the level of taxation, we are seeing very vigorous paces of investment growth,” he concluded.
Siza Vieira also said that “in the country’s current situation, lowering taxes now would only increase the debt and deficit” and this would flow through into a rise in market interest rates.
The minister was responding to calls from some quarters to reduce the burden of taxation to attract still more investment.
Although the draft budget is the first in Portuguese democracy to foresee a surplus, and the country’s public indebtedness as a share of gross domestic product has been falling for some time, the ratio is seen remaining above 100% for several years.