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General Overview
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Standing at the crossroads of Europe, Africa and the Americas, Portugal enjoys privileged political, economic, diplomatic and commercial relations worldwide. It is a member of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).


Having been a full member of the European Union since 1986, Portugal is now one of the 15 full-fledged members of the European Monetary Union (EMU), which started operating in May 1998. On the heels of that, the Euro became its currency as of January 1, 1999. Moreover, as an EU member, it is also a full partner in the world's largest economic market. Portugal was a founding member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). Even now, it still counts its EFTA neighbors (alongside its EU ones) as major trading partners. There is no restriction on the free flow of goods, services, and capital between Portugal and its EU neighbors.


In the wake of its accession to the European Community, and up until 1990, Portugal was Europe's fastest-growing economy, with an increase of 5.5% in GDP recorded in 1989. GDP rose an average of 4.4% between 1985 and 1989 - much more than for any other European country. More, in fact, than the US (3.4%) and Canada (4.1%), and nearly as much as Japan (4.5%).

During that period Portugal rapidly brought its social and economic indicators closer to EU averages.

GDP growth stood at 1.4% in 2010, going to -1.6% in 2011. In 2012, growth is expected to decline to - 3.3%. and rise to 0.3 by 2013.

Inflation stood at 1.4.% in 2010, rising to 3.6% in 2011. That figure is forecast to drop to 3% in 2012 and to 1.1% by 2013.

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With a population of 10.555 million, Portugal's unemployment rate stands at 15,3%. Although a medium-sized country by European standards, Portugal does, however, represent access to a free market of around 450 million consumers, in light of the free movement of goods, capital, enterprises, and people between all the 25 EU countries.

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Portugal has a democratically-elected parliamentary government, whose investment policies are pro-business and pro-foreign. The government assures the repatriation of profits and capital invested in Portugal. It also grants foreign investors equal access to all the country’s economic sectors.

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Portugal is still finalizing the privatization of state-owned assets. This takes in banking, industry, insurance, and other types of companies nationalized following the 1974 change in the political regime. Deregulation of Portugal's monetary, capital, and foreign exchange markets has already been put in place.

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Portugal boasts Europe's most cost-efficient workforce. In addition, it has one of the youngest populations in Europe. Productivity in industry and services is high and, as new technologies and management skills are introduced into the economy, that’s steadily increasing. Highly educated, versatile, and skilled, the Portuguese workforce is also an internationally competitive one. Furthermore, Portugal enjoys a low private-sector strike rate.

Labour Disputes
Working days lost per 1000 Workers 1991-2000

Source: OECD


Portugal has been undergoing an extensive infrastructure-upgrade program, with major investments in communications and transportation facilities and networks. Taking advantage of EU funding, a broad range of infrastructures in rural and less developed areas of the country have been improved. Portugal is home to extensive natural assets, including Europe's largest lumber resources. These are being managed and environmentally developed for economic growth.

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An important second language in Portugal, English is widely used in business and industry. Portugal has strong economic and commercial ties with other economies.


Portugal offers the foreign investor a country with friendly, hospitable people, a moderate climate, a comfortable living environment, and one of Europe's lowest crime rates. A country with a rich historical and cultural background, not only does Portugal boast modern, cosmopolitan cities, but quaint fishing villages, beautiful beaches and resorts too. Lisbon is one of Europe's most beautiful cities.

Incidents involving attacks on the property of foreign companies are unknown.

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