United States Ambassador to Portugal, Allan Katz, will lead a delegation from Portugal to Massachusetts later this month. This visit, sponsored by The World Class Cities Partnership and SATA Airlines, aims to increase business links between Portugal and the Bay State.
From April 28 through May 2, delegates from Portugal, including the Azores Islands, will be in the Boston area and southeastern Massachusetts to meet with businesses and local officials. The busy itinerary kicks off with a meeting at the State House where delegation members will discuss doing business in Massachusetts with the Office of International Trade and Investment.
“The prospects that exist for Portuguese and American businesses to work closely together are great and mutually advantageous,” said Ambassador Katz in a press release statement. “This visit will provide an opportunity for Portuguese businesses to discuss new and enhanced trade and investment opportunities with American counterparts and establish new contacts with Massachusetts high tech, business and innovation leaders as well as make important government contacts.”
During the trip, the group will visit MassChallenge, where it will discuss becoming a partner; the Massachusetts High Tech Council; Clean Energy Council; Cambridge Innovation Center; and Helena Fruscio, the Creative Economy Director for Massachusetts. Delegates will meet with businesses in the high tech and clean energy industries, including Raytheon, Big Belly Solar, iRobot and Siemens.
The Portuguese delegation also has scheduled meetings with Massport officials and the New Bedford fishing port, as well as with several federal and state elected officials.
Once its trip to Boston is complete, the delegation will head to Kansas City, Missouri, where it will discuss business opportunities in the Midwest.
World Class Cities Partnership is an organization that aims to foster better relationships between cities and encourage sharing of innovative ideas and best policy practices. The Boston area visit by the Portuguese delegation follows a Policy Trade Mission by WCCP in October 2012, during which Boston area business leaders and officials visited Lisbon and the Azores to discuss possible collaboration between ports and sharing municipal budgeting ideas.
SATA Airlines, one of the trip’s sponsors, is expanding service from Boston to Portugal. SATA recently doubled weekly service to the Azores and mainland Portugal from Boston’s Logan Airport. All of SATA’s flights to the Azores connect on to Lisbon, but this is the first direct spring flight to Portugal’s capital ever offered by the airline.
“As the only airline offering non-stop service to Portugal from Boston, we are proud to be a part this initiative,” said Antonio de Menezes, President, SATA Group. “Our role has been connecting both sides of the Atlantic since our first flight in 1947.”
Today, the flight from Boston to São Miguel (the largest island in Azores) is just four hours on one of SATA’s fleet of Airbus A310s. Lisbon is just over an hour away. In June, SATA will expand to five flights a week to the Azores archipelago and two weekly non-stop flights to Lisbon.
Lake calls Portugal is a natural fit for Massachusetts. “We are looking for opportunities for Portuguese companies to enter the market through Massachusetts and bring economic opportunities to Massachusetts,” said Mike Lake, executive director of the World Class Cities Partnership, based out of Northeastern University.
Local businesses and leaders are expected to highlight Boston’s strengths such as the deep and well-educated talent pool, the number of strategic partners interested in working with foreign companies and the support available through government agencies for businesses looking to invest in Massachusetts.
The short-term goal is to continue to build relationship with the policy exchange mission in Portugal, Lake said, but the long-term goal is to have Portuguese businesses locating offices here.
SATA Airlines has connected North America with the Azores and mainland Portugal for more than 30 years.