Portugal to provide "stable", "attractive" business atmosphere: president

LISBON, June 6 (Xinhua) -- Portugal is determined to provide a "stable and attractive" business atmosphere for investors in Portugal, Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva said on Friday at a seminar with his visiting Mexican counterpart Enrique Pena Nieto.

"Having ended the adjustment program, Portugal has regained credibility access to the markets, the Portuguese economy today is more competitive, sustainable and integrated in the global economy," Cavaco Silva said at a Mexico-Portugal seminar held in a hotel here.

Cavaco Silva added that the country's adjustment program had led to "clear signs of recovery of economic activity, with effects on the reduction of unemployment."

Portugal recently ended the 78-billion-euro bailout program it signed with its international lenders -- the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank in May 2011, after three years of deep spending cuts and tax hikes to meet its budget deficit target.

Portugal showed signs of recovery recently with exports rising from 30 percent of GDP in 2010 to 40 percent in 2013, though the Bank of Portugal has said that the economic progress made up to now is insufficient, pointing to the country's high debt burden and weak growth.

Economic recovery began in the second quarter of last year, but in the first quarter of 2014 economic growth fell by 0.7 percent.

Portugal still maintains its growth forecast of 1.2 percent this year, and on Friday Cavaco Silva highlighted the importance of a "modern" and "dynamic" export sector.

"This is the path we will continue to embark on," he told his Mexican counterpart in the presence of hundreds of potential investors.

He also insisted on the need to keep up with structural reforms and for economic growth to rely fundamentally on exports. "We have in Portugal a new generation of companies, with great entrepreneurial, innovative and technological capacity," he said, adding that the potential of business between Mexico and Portugal was "enormous."

Cavaco Silva pointed also to "considerable dynamism" between both countries while wishing both countries luck in the upcoming World Cup games.

Pena Nieto said companies in his country had "great interest" in increasing their presence in Portugal, adding that he wanted to give a "new impulse" to the relations between the two countries.

Pena Nieto also said he hoped business people from Spain and Mexico could generate more jobs and economic development, and that the Portuguese would see his country as a "secure" destination.

Mexico's manufacturing sector has spurred in recent years due to cheap labor. However, the Mexican government lowered its growth forecast for 2014 due to low private consumption, with the economy expanding only 0.3 percent in the first quarter.

Pena Nieto has insisted on structural reforms to boost the economy though many experts remain skeptical regarding his "Mexican moment."

Portuguese Deputy Prime Minister Paulo Portas said the Portuguese market was living an "extraordinary" moment after a "difficult" financial crisis and pointed out his willingness to reduce bureaucracy to facilitate Mexico investing in Portugal.