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).
THE EUROPEAN UNION
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
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.
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.
A MARKET-ORIENTED GOVERNMENT
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 countrys economic sectors.
PRIVATIZATION AND DEREGULATION
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.
A PRODUCTIVE, LOW-COST LABOR FORCE
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,
thats 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.
Working days lost per 1000 Workers
INFRASTRUCTURES AND NATURAL RESOURCES
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.
ENGLISH WIDELY SPOKEN AND UNDERSTOOD
An important second language
in Portugal, English is widely used in business and
industry. Portugal has strong economic and commercial
ties with other economies.
AN ATTRACTIVE PLACE TO LIVE AND
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.