Portuguese Shoe, Textile Industry Receives Aid

The Portuguese government announced last week it has given $1.2 billion in aid to its shoe and textile industry. This is intended to help boost exports, obtain financing and prevent job losses.

“Only a fool or a lunatic would risk saying that the companies [in these industries] don’t currently have financing and export credit insurance problems,” said Economy Minister Manuel Pinho while announcing the support package last week.

The government also will seek to help the two sectors modernize by providing funds and fiscal incentives for technology investment and staff training and recruitment.

A statement issued by APICCAPS, the Portuguese footwear trade body, said the plan has the “QREN” support, naming the European fund for the member-state’s economy internationalization. Moreover, the formalization of Portuguese support to external promotion is said to have greater importance in this global economic situation. In 2009, for instance, more than 120 Portuguese companies will participate in 40 fairs and exhibition overseas, throughout 13 different markets, with an investment of 8.5 million euros.

Compared with the textile sector, Portuguese footwear, which accounts for 4 percent of the country’s exports, isn’t faring too badly in the global downturn. In 2008, exports increased by 2.2 percent to 1,348 million euros, with increases noted in Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and Denmark. A third year of export growth is expected for 2009.