London, Apr 12 (PTI) Portugese Prime Minister Antonio Costa has proposed a “two-in-one” opportunity for Indian companies in the UK to invest in his country as a base in the European Union (EU) post-Brexit.

Indian-origin Prime Minister Costa told a gathering of prominent Indian businesses in London yesterday that the country’s highly-skilled workforce and attractive investment climate make it the ideal home for companies that want to continue accessing the benefits of an EU single market.

“Any company wishing to continue its operations in the internal market after Brexit will find in Portugal a safe harbour and fertile ground for business. By opening in Portugal, you can have a two-in-one Brexit in the UK and remain in the European Union with Portugal,” said Costa.

“We cannot shy away from challenge of Brexit. We must face it head on…it is time now for India to discover the enormous business opportunities that await in Portugal, he said.

Addressing the Portugal-India Business Roundtable organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the Portuguese leader said he was proud to be the first person of Indian-origin to become the Prime Minister of an EU member-state.

He said that under his leadership, Portugal is strongly committed to fostering the partnership between the EU and India by supporting its expansion into new areas by keeping trade “as free as possible”, not only from tariffs but other barriers.

“As the third-largest investor, India will continue to play an important role in the UK economy even after Brexit. We must act responsibly to preserve as much as we can of the prosperity of Britain’s participation in the European Union and prepare for the new paradigm of relations that follow,” he added.

The Portuguese government delegation comprised of Manuel Caldeira Cabral, Minister of Economy, who highlighted the country’s attractive visa and tax provisions for investors and start-ups, as well as Chitra Stern, Executive Committee Member of the country investment facilitation agency in Portugal and a member of Prime Minister Costa’s special temporary task force to attract investments into the country.

Among some of the India-headquartered companies represented at the event included Tata Consultancy Services, Tech Mahindra, Wipro, ICICI Bank, Taj Hotels and Zee TV.

The first-of-its-kind roundtable follows Costa’s official visit to India early last year, which was followed up by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reciprocal visit to Lisbon later in 2017.

This event marks a great vote of confidence in the role of Indian diaspora in the UK, which is set to hit nearly 1.7 million… The ground is fertile to attract investments from Indian companies based in the UK to Portugal, which offers an ideal entry port to the EU and rest of Europe, said India’s High Commissioner to the UK Y K Sinha.

Dr David Landsman, Chair of the CII India Business Forum (UK) and Executive Director of Tata Limited, highlighted Portugal’s Golden Visa scheme to attract non-European investors, which has facilitated several important Indian investments, especially in the hospitality, renewable energy, IT and food sectors.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.