Portugal’s minister of foreign affairs, Augusto Santos Silva, on Thursday told his Japanese counterpart that he was interested in seeing Japanese companies bid for the contract to build a second container terminal at the deepwater port of Sines, south of Lisbon.
Santos Silva welcomed Toshimitsu Motegi to the ministry on Thursday on what was the first visit by a Japanese foreign minister to Portugal in 18 years, on the occasion of the 160th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Citing well-established “cultural, political and economic relations”, he stressed in statements to the media after the meeting that Japan “is currently one of the largest foreign investors in Portugal”, present “in the automobile, agri-food and energy sectors”.
Japanese investment in Portugal, he said, “has contributed greatly to the growth of the economy and employment.
“That is why I took advantage of this meeting to convey to the minister the request to publicise to Japanese companies linked to the port sector Portugal’s interest in seeing Japanese companies and international consortia in which Japanese companies are present bidding for the tender that is underway for the second terminal at the port of Sines,” Santos Silva said.
In his own statement, the Japanese minister did not refer directly to Sines, but said that he had broached the issue of “several economic projects” in the meeting through which he hoped that the two countries could “further strengthen economic relations.”
Portugal has launched an international tender for the construction of a new container terminal in Sines, with Chinese and US companies already expressed interest.
In the meeting, Santos Silva said, he had also informed his guest that Portugal’s parliament would shortly ratify a strategic partnership agreement between the European Union and Japan, and that Portugal would support Japan’s candidacy for the International Court of Justice.
Among the issues on the international agenda, Santos Silva said that he had discussed with Motegi the Portuguese presidency of the EU in the first half of 2021, negotiations on the future relationship between the EU and the UK – which has already signed a trade deal with Japan – along with relations with China, North Korea and cooperation with African countries.
The Japanese minister, for his part, highlighted values shared by Portugal and Japan such as “the order of the maritime space, freedom, democracy, human rights, respect for the law” and expressed an interest in deepening the day’s conversation on cooperation with Africa.