Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Delegation of Portuguese business leaders to visit city today

U.S. Ambassador to Portugal Allan J. Katz and more than 25 Portuguese corporate leaders are expected in New Bedford today, meeting with businesses and local officials to discuss the possibility of bringing new jobs to Massachusetts.

The United States-Portugal Business Development tour will visit the Whaling Museum from noon to 2 p.m., networking with businesses and local officials, including Congressman Bill Keating and state Rep. Antonio F.D. Cabral, D-New Bedford.

Cabral and state Sen. Marc Pacheco, D-Taunton, hosted the delegation at a Statehouse meeting Monday.

"I'm committed to creating jobs in Massachusetts, and international partnerships are a proven way to promote economic development in the commonwealth," Cabral said in a news release. "Given the historical and cultural ties between Massachusetts and Portugal, they are natural partners and I'm proud to support the collaboration."

Pacheco said, also in the release: "As a proud Portuguese American, I am pleased to help build stronger bonds with Portugal that will both enhance its trade and investment opportunities in the United States and potentially bring new jobs to Massachusetts."

The New Bedford visit is part of a weeklong tour that includes stops in Boston, Cambridge and New Bedford. It is organized in collaboration with World Class Cities Partnership, which aims to foster cooperation between cities and share innovative ideas and best policy practices across an international network including Boston and Lisbon, Portugal.

Last October, Boston area business leaders and officials visited Lisbon and the Azores to discuss possible collaboration between ports and sharing municipal budgeting ideas.

"We are proud to be leading the effort to build bridges between Portugal and Massachusetts," said Michael Lake, executive director of the World Class Cities Partnership. "This is a win-win opportunity to create jobs in the commonwealth, help Massachusetts to better compete in the global economy and serve as Portugal's gateway to the U.S. market."

"The prospects that exist for Portuguese and American businesses to work closely together are great and mutually advantageous," said Katz, in the release. "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."