Ambassador Sherman took his campaign to promote and discuss T-TIP back to the road, this time by leading a caravan of vintage Ford Mustangs and driving the Electric Ford Focus on October 22 and 23. This second trip targeted the center of Portugal, including the Coimbra and Aveiro districts. The Ambassador led a small delegation that included Paula Redondo Pereira, Chief of Staff to the MFA’s Secretary of State for European Affairs, and AICEP Executive Director, Pedro Pessoa e Costa.
The Ambassador stopped first at MICROplásticos, a Portuguese automotive parts manufacturer based in Figueira da Foz, an important regional industrial center. After a tour of the facilities, the company’s leadership discussed challenges to exportation of its products and how T-TIP could improve their exportation and operations. Next, the Mayor of Figueira da Foz, João Ataíde, hosted a round table lunch that included local business representatives. Attendees participated in a lively discussion of T-TIP, and heard from the Ambassador and Portuguese government representatives on technical issues surrounding T-TIP. A small group of vintage Ford Mustang owners then converged at the Mayor’s residence in Figueira da Foz. The Ford Mustang will be exported abroad from Portugal for the first time in its history in six months. Led by the Ambassador in a new Electric Ford Focus, the delegation then departed for Coimbra. At the headquarters of the Business Council of the Center (CEC), the delegation participated in another round table discussion on T-TIP. The last stop of the day included a visit to Critical Software and a discussion of trans-Atlantic transfer of technology and software.
On day two of this tour, the Ambassador and delegation went to Aveiro for a round table discussion with local businesses organized by the Aveiro District Industry Association (AIDA). The delegation then lunched at Clube da Vela at Costa Nova (famous for its striped houses). The group then visited Dow Portugal in Estarreja that produces a polymer resin for rigid polyurethane foam. After a discussion with Dow representatives on its operations and T-TIP, the group then visited Dow’s facilities.
At each stop, Ambassador Sherman heard from businesses about their business successes and exportation challenges, including to the U.S. The delegation referenced a study commissioned by the Portuguese government on the potential impact of T-TIP in Portugal that suggests that 1.1 billion Euros would be injected into the country’s economy and 40,000 jobs would be created. The Ambassador emphasized that T-TIP would especially benefit small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) by reducing or eliminating tariffs and regulation and the ongoing importance of Portugal and Europe in today’s competitive economy and as a strategic ally of the U.S. Portuguese and local government officials discussed branding, the role of the UE in the negotiations, the importance of strengthening economic ties with the U.S., and encouraged businesses to learn more about the benefits of T-TIP.