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Written interview with Mr. Adao Ferreira, AFIA-CEO

Adão Ferreira, AFIA-CEO
Adão Ferreira, AFIA-CEO

1. TO WHAT EXTENT DOES THE CURRENT COVID 19 SITUATION AFFECT THE SUPPLIER INDUSTRY IN PORTUGAL?

The Portuguese auto components industry is linked with the European market. So during the first lockdown between March and June 2020 the activity of the Portuguese auto components companies have suffered an huge impact, with lost about 50% of the turnover (2nd quarter 2020 vs 2nd quarter 2019). But during the second half of the year there was a recovery of the activity, so in the overall of 2020 the turnover “only” fell 12,6% (to 10.4 billion EUR) which compares of a decrease of 23,5% of the automotive production in the European Union.

2. HOW IMPORTANT IS THE ELECTRONIC SUPPLIER INDUSTRY FOR PORTUGAL?

The Electric / Electronic sector represents about 10% of the companies, 25% of the employees and 31% of the turnover. The Electric / Electronic sector in Portugal is lead manly by foreign multinational companies.

3. CURRENTLY, MANY PHYSICAL TRADE SHOWS ARE ONLY HELD DIGITALLY. HOW DO YOU COPE WITH THE DIGITALIZATION OF TRADE SHOWS AND CAN YOU IMAGINE THAT THIS IS HOW OUR FUTURE LOOKS LIKE?

In the automotive sector, almost all fairs were cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19. AFIA did not participate in any fairs in 2020, in a "normal" year we exhibit in 5 fairs. It is clear that traditional fairs have to reinvent themselves and find innovative ways to safely host their events, but I think digital fairs will not replace physical events, but will be complementary.

4. HOW IMPORTANT ARE PHYSICAL TRADE SHOWS FOR YOUR ASSOCIATION?

The typical trade fair in the auto components industry is the business-to-business model, so these shows offer an opportunity to network with other exhibitors and potential partners, and physically showcase products.

5. WHAT ADDED VALUE COULD MES EXPO OFFER YOU?

I think that MES Expo can answer the fundamental question “What will the future of mobility look like from the perspective of the European supplier community?” People and goods need to move from A to B in a safe, clean and affordable manner. People’s habits will change, but even 10, 20, 30 or more years from now personal mobility will be one of the foundations of well-functioning societies and vibrant economies.

6. HOW DO YOU IMAGINE A FUTURE COOPERATION OF MES EXPO?

AFIA promoted the 2019 edition of the MES Expo among our members. AFIA has a good relationship with AHK Portugal and naturally we will also disseminate the 2021 edition. For the future, AFIA is available to organise with co-operation of AHK Portugal a entrepreneurs delegation to visit the MES Expo or even to be an exhibitor.

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