A Portuguese central banker says that a June visit to Atlanta and elsewhere in the US may have provided him with “the missing link” to an economic strategy that would enable his country’s traditional industries in its textile, clothing, shoe and timber sectors to become more competitive globally.

Rui Manuel de Carvalho, deputy director for the Bank of Portugal’s foreign department, visited the US under the auspices of the United States Information Agency.  The “missing link” which he discovered primarily in Salt Lake City, Utah, but also in Atlanta, was the cooperation he found among the business, university and governmental sectors.

He said that Portugal needs to modernize its traditional economic sectors and to attract new foreign investment such as that of Ford and Volkswagen, which have joined forces to build a large manufacturing facility in Portugal.

Mr. Carvalho found more “outward looking” Americans seeking relationships with European firms than he expected, and he encouraged Georgia companies to explore opportunities of exports sales, joint ventures or licensing agreements with Portuguese companies.

His visit  to Atlanta was coordinated by the Georgia Council for International Visitors.  He may be reached at the Banco de Portugal’s Foreign Department by calling 351-1-355 86 55, ext. 3482; fax, 351-352-3505.