“We had meetings with potential investors who are very interested in Portugal, not only for what it has to offer but also Portugal as a business platform for Europe and for Portuguese-speaking countries”, said the minister.

Bernardo Ivo Cruz said that “there are also good opportunities for Portuguese companies” in Texas, which would be the ninth largest economy in the world if it were an independent country.

The Secretary of State was in Houston after visiting Austin, where AICEP - Agency for Investment and Foreign Trade of Portugal had, for the first time, a space at the great creative industries event at South by Southwest (SXSW).

“The objective was to establish a set of contacts with various sectors of Texas that are of interest to the Portuguese economy and companies and which, in turn, are interested in Portugal and the Portuguese economy”, he described.

“The contacts we established were very interesting and with potential, namely in the areas of information technology, cinema and television”, he stressed.

Bernardo Ivo Cruz said that Portugal is recognised by companies in these areas as a country with a lot of imagination and capacity to innovate.

“We had interesting conversations with television producers who are looking at Portugal as a potential filming destination”, he said. “The fact that we had a Portuguese film at the Oscars also helped to draw attention to our country”, he stressed, referring to “Ice Merchants”, by João Gonzalez, which was nominated for the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film .

The official mentioned that Portugal already has an economic relationship with the state, namely in terms of energy, and there are Portuguese companies with relevance in the Texan economy.

"EDP Renováveis ​​is a good example of a Portuguese company that plays a very important role in Texas", said the Secretary of State. “If we're interested in Texas natural gas, Texas is very interested in our renewables,” he added.

In meetings with state officials and the city of Houston, Portugal was identified as "a good case study and investment, technology and knowledge" in renewable energies, said Bernardo Ivo Cruz. “There is a mutual interest in this industry that is important to us and to Texas,” he said.

In Houston, the visit included a trip to Rice University, which has an important technology development center, and to the Texas Medical Center, described as the largest center of applied scientific research for medicine in the world. “They are very interested in some Portuguese companies and in our universities, in our research centers and foundations”, highlighted the Secretary of State.

There were also meetings with technology companies and a stop at the US space agency. “We had good meetings with important departments at NASA for what are our ambitions for the development of the aerospace sector”, stressed the official.

There is a perception that Portugal is an ally country integrated into NATO and with which the United States can comfortably work in more sensitive areas in the sectors related to Defense and aerospace, he underlined.

On the other hand, “there is a perception that Portugal is a modern country, facing the future, with good companies and good universities, with good opportunities that need to be identified and exploited”, added Bernardo Ivo Cruz.

The visit ended with a reception for the Portuguese community in Houston, which is “well settled” and can contribute to closer ties with Portugal, he said.

“We are going through a good phase in our economic relationship with the United States and American companies that choose Portugal to settle in their entry into the European market”, said the minister, saying that it is not only California and the East Coast that have opportunities .