The Hannover Messe’22 industrial fair “is the biggest investment in the last decade by AICEP in promotional activity,” said the agency’s president in an interview with Lusa, adding that in overall terms it is worth around €4 million.
The Hannover Messe’22 will be held in Germany, between May 30 and June 2, and will be inaugurated by the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, and the Portuguese prime minister, António Costa.
“This is the biggest investment of the last decade by AICEP [Portugal’s Agency for Investment and Foreign Trade] in a promotion initiative,” says Luís Castro Henriques, pointing out that there are “around €3 million of direct promotion at the fair,” “through a central pavilion,” where Portugal will have a conference area and a very, very large exhibition, not only of good, innovative and technological Portuguese products, but also of good partnerships between Portuguese companies and German companies,” as well as German companies with the Portuguese university sector.
We will also “have a set of satellite pavilions spread throughout the fair and, therefore, a presence, I would say, all over the place,” describes the president of AICEP.
In addition, “we also have indirect support” for the presence of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) at the fair, “in which around €1.2 million will be used,” he said.
Therefore, in global numbers, “we are talking about an investment of €4 million from the Portuguese state,” he sums up.
This is “a very significant number and we expect the return to be in the magnitude of hundreds of millions of euros in terms of increased exports, either directly, through direct purchases from Portuguese companies, or through German investment, which is of an exporting nature, as we have seen in recent years, and therefore will be re-exported from Portugal,” said Luís Castro Henriques.
As for expectations, these “are very positive,” he concluded, highlighting that the fact that Portugal is “a partner country derives from a choice made by the German State and, therefore, there is a clear logic of the German State itself to indicate to its industry that Portugal is a good destination for industrial production, for partnerships and for investment” and “this alone is very positive”.
Then, AICEP “has believed for several years and, in fact, when this negotiation began, we are fully aware that our companies in these sectors – we are talking about precision engineering, metalworking, machinery, energy, automation, digital solutions for industry – Portugal has, in fact, offers that are surprising.”
Hannover Messe’22 is, therefore, “the ideal fair for us to change the perception of the German middle-tier industry”, because “nowadays we have 550 German companies operating in Portugal, if we look, all the big German companies already operate or produce or have software development centres”, that is, “they are already here”.
Therefore, “what we want is to change the perception of the others that still do not know” and hence the expression “with which Portugal is going to Hannover Messe’22 – ‘Portugal makes sense’,” he explains.
“We are completely aware and confident that our industry is prepared to be at the best fair in the world, that it has competitive solutions to surprise” at the event “and that it can take a competitive approach to dealing with German peers and partners,” reinforces Luís Castro Henriques.
In fact, “there is no greater notoriety opportunity at industrial level, whether for metalworking, precision machinery, digital solutions for industry, industry management software integrated in Industry 4.0, or new energy solutions, than the Hannover fair,” he insists.
In addition to this, “Portugal being a partner country is clearly a huge commitment by AICEP and I am very happy with this commitment,” stresses the agency’s president.
At a time when the world is coming out of the pandemic, “our expectation is that the vast majority of visitors this year will continue to be German and European”, so the focus “is clearly Germany and then, obviously, the rest of the European countries,” he continues.
Hannover Messe publicises “everything that happens at the fair on a global level, from China to the United States, and therefore we also hope to capitalise on this, but if you ask us what our main objective is, it is clearly to work the German industry,” he underlines.
Luís Castro Henriques adds that there is a “very, very large” cycle of conferences at the fair.
“The pavilion, following Monday’s institutional events, will be permanently hosting seminars where we will highlight successful partnerships already made”, as well as the access to Portuguese talent, the innovative solutions developed in Portugal, either in partnership with German companies, or from scratch by Portuguese companies, “everything always in great partnership with the university system”, he says.
“We will have a series of entities from the university, research and investigation system” that will be represented at the fair, “I believe that the very scale of our presence, the whole performance, will in fact manage to fill the Hanover fair, which is a great challenge,” considers Luís Castro Henriques.
Besides the promotion and notoriety part, the Hannover fair also has a political component.
Luís Castro Henriques recalls that everything started with “an invitation from the German state which, in practice, is a recognition of the quality of Portuguese industry”.
But “it is also the recognition of Portugal’s good understanding as a partner, obviously a member country of the European Union, so we are all in the same market, but let there be no doubt: it is a clear sign to the German industry that Portugal is a good destination for investment, for partnerships, for the development of new solutions and, therefore, obviously, it also has a great political component,” underlines Luís Castro Henriques.
In fact, “on the first day of the fair, the German chancellor’s first visit will be to the Portugal pavilion, where he will have a small seminar and where we will present exactly how and why Portugal makes sense”.