Cooperation across borders
In the near past, a characteristic commercial activity arose between Valença and Tui: the trapiche, “barefoot smuggling”, so nicknamed by the people who practiced it. In spite of being distinct from the real smuggling, this passage through customs with prohibited products and without the payment of taxes was possible, although equally illegal. This type of trade was well known to all, and for the privilege of some, they were given a special identification card, the “raian passport”.
The Trapiche was one of the only means of support for many of the families of the Council, based on the direct exchange of goods, mostly practiced by widows and abandoned women with many children. The wise strategy of using authentic “textile engineering works” allowed the secret transportation of kilos of products under the clothes, where the objective was to pass through customs and guards, without the merchandise being imprisoned. In the most difficult hypothesis, the children also participated in this type of transaction, due to their more discreet profile.
In the current times, the presence of traces of this continuous link of mutual help has changed its concept, now with a more diligent vision in the fusion of the cultural and social values of these two cities, to achieve a single purpose: cooperation, in favor of the development of tourism in the region.
Given this partnership, it is clear that there is a growing increase in opportunities for the development of the territory, through the sharing of public facilities in the most diverse areas, such as health or culture. This makes it the busiest land region between Portugal and Spain, being considered as the geostrategic centre of the Peninsular Northwest.