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Portugal Expects Economy to Continue Growing Above EU Average

Portugal’s economy will continue to grow above the European Union average, helped by the country’s ability to attract investment, Economy Minister Pedro Siza Vieira said.

“We’ve seen for the past eight quarters Portugal growing above the EU average and we expect this to continue,” Siza Vieira said on Thursday in a Bloomberg Television interview at the Web Summit in Lisbon. “Growth has been driven mostly by exports and investment.”

Chinese investment, which also helped Portugal when it was going through an international bailout program in 2011-14, remains welcome, Siza Vieira said. In May, China Three Gorges Corp. offered 9.1 billion euros ($10.4 billion) to raise its stake in Portuguese utility EDP-Energias de Portugal SA, which would be this year’s biggest Chinese overseas acquisition, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“We are a country open to investment from all walks of the world,” said Siza Vieira. “It’s true that Chinese investment has been significant for the past few years and we welcome it.”

Other Chinese investments in the country include China State Grid’s 25 percent stake in energy grid operator REN-Redes Energeticas Nacionais SA. Fosun Group is the biggest shareholder in lender Banco Comercial Portugues SA with a 27 percent stake, and controls insurer Fidelidade. Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit Portugal on Dec. 4-5, according to Portuguese news agency Lusa.