Portugal: Washington opposes Chinese investment in the port of Sens

LISBON (AWP/AFP) – In an interview that appeared Saturday, the US ambassador said the United States would take a very dim view of Portugal awarding the construction of a new terminal in the port of Sines to a Chinese company. The “choice” between the two world powers.

The US ambassador in Lisbon, George Glass, explained that the port of Sins, located about 100 kilometers south of Lisbon, is “incredibly strategic” for the United States because it is the deep-sea European port closest to US soil. Weekly Expresso.

Portugal launched an international call for bids last October to build a new container terminal scheduled to open in 2024. Among the potential candidates cited by the local press are Chinese shipping giant COSCO or Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG).

“I really hope that Sines will not go to China (…) This cannot happen,” emphasized Mr. Glass, specifying that this infrastructure, which in 2016 received the first shipments of US liquefied natural gas towards the European Union, makes Portugal “ The gas hub and a center for European energy security.

“We want a Western company to operate and build the station,” the ambassador added, explaining that the United States does not have any company that operates foreign ports.

The Portuguese government immediately responded to the statements of the American ambassador with the voice of its foreign minister. “In Portugal, it is the Portuguese authorities who make decisions in the interest of the country,” Augusto Santos Silva told Lusa news agency.

Since the 2011 financial crisis, Portugal has become one of the most welcoming European countries for Chinese investment. In March 2019, Washington actually opposed a takeover offer launched by the Chinese state-run China Three Gorges Group (CTG) for the electricity company Energias de Portugal (EDP), the largest Portuguese group in which they were already a major shareholder.

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Referring to Chinese telecom group Huawei’s involvement in Portugal’s 5G network development, or the Chinese company’s recent entry into a major Portuguese construction group, George Glass acknowledged in the interview published on Saturday that Portugal has been a front for the “European battlefield between the US and China”.

bcr / tsc / mc

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