Country Report


Following its heyday as a global maritime power during the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal lost much of its wealth and status with the destruction of Lisbon in a 1755 earthquake, occupation during the Napoleonic Wars, and the independence of its wealthiest colony of Brazil in 1822. A 1910 revolution deposed the monarchy; for most of the next six decades, repressive governments ran the country. In 1974, a left-wing military coup installed broad democratic reforms. The following year, Portugal granted independence to all of its African colonies. Portugal is a founding member of NATO and entered the EC (now the EU) in 1986. In January 2011, Portugal assumed a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2011-12 term.


Area and geographical features

Mainland area: 92,090 km² - of which 91,470 km² is land and 620 km² water. (Includes Azores and Madeira Islands).

Situated on the South Western side of the Iberian Peninsula, Spain is Portugal's only neighbour.

Main rivers are the Tagus (Lisbon) and the Douro (Porto).
The island of Madeira lies about 800 km South West of Lisbon.
Continental Portugal is mountainous north of the Tagus River with plains to the south. Portugal's highest mountain is Mt Pico, located on the Azores. The nine islands of the Azores are scattered over an area of approximately 1,000 km² about 1200 km west of Lisbon in the Atlantic Ocean.

Location: South Western Europe, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, west of Spain
Geographic coordinates: 39 30 N, 8 00 W
Map references: Europe

Total: 92,090 km²
Land: 91,470 km²
Water: 620 km²
(Note: includes Azores and Madeira Islands)

Land boundaries: total: 1,214 km
Border countries: Spain 1,214 km
Coastline: 1,793 km

Maritime claims:
Contiguous zone: 24 NM
Continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Exclusive economic zone: 200 NM (370 km)
Territorial sea: 12 NM (22 km)

Climate: Maritime temperate; cool and rainy in north, warmer and drier in south
Terrain: Mountainous north of the Tagus River, rolling plains in south

Elevation extremes:
Lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
Highest point: Ponta do Pico (Pico or Pico Alto) on Ilha do Pico in the Azores 2,351 m

Natural resources: Fish, Forests (cork), Iron ore, Copper, Zinc, Tin, Tungsten, Silver, Gold, Uranium, Marble, Clay, Gypsum, Salt, Arable land, Hydropower and Eolic Power

Land use:
Arable land: 11.88%
Permanent crops: 7.71%
Other: 80.41% (2011)

Irrigated land: 5,837 km² (2007 est.)

Total renewable water resources: 68.7 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 8.46 cu km/yr (12%/18%/69%)
per capita: 812 cu m/yr (2005)

Natural hazards: Azores subject to severe earthquakes. Wild fires.
Volcanism: Portugal experiences limited volcanic activity in the Azores Islands; Fayal or Faial (elev. 1,043 m, 3,422 ft) last erupted in 1958; most volcanoes have not erupted in centuries; historically active volcanoes include Agua de Pau, Furnas, Pico, Picos Volcanic System, San Jorge, Sete Cidades, and Terceira.

Environment - current issues:soil erosion; air pollution caused by industrial and vehicle emissions; water pollution, especially in coastal areas

Environment - international agreements:
party to:
Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Environmental Modification

Geography - note: Azores and Madeira Islands occupy strategic locations along western sea approaches to Strait of Gibraltar

Source: CIA World Fact Book

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Population: 10,813,834 (July 2014 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 15.9% (male 893,902/female 821,062)
15-24 years: 11.4% (male 654,102/female 579,440)
25-54 years: 42.2% (male 2,304,503/female 2,260,556)
55-64 years: 11.9% (male 599,380/female 685,279)
65 years and over: 18.4% (male 824,062/female 1,191,548) (2014 est.)

Median age:
total: 41 years
male: 39 years
female: 43.3 years (2014 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.12% (2014 est.)
Birth rate: 9.42 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
Death rate: 10.97 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
Net migration rate: 2.74 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Sex ratio:
At birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.09 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.13 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.69 male(s)/female
Total population: 0.95 male(s)/female)(2014 est.)

Maternal mortality rate:
8 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 4.48 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 4.92 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.02 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
Total population: 79.01 years
Male: 75.76 years
Female: 82.47 years (2014 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.52 children born/woman (2014 est.)

Health expenditures: 11% of GDP (2010)

Physicians density: 3.76 physicians/1,000 population (2009)

Hospital bed density: 3.3 beds/1,000 population (2009)

Drinking water source:
urban: 99% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 99% of population
urban: 1% of population
rural: 0% of population
total: 1% of population (2010 est.)

Drinking water source:
urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population (2010 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.6% (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 42,000 (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: Fewer than 500 (2009 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate: 24% (2008)

Noun: Portuguese (singular and plural)
Adjective: Portuguese

Ethnic groups: homogeneous Mediterranean stock; citizens of black African descent who immigrated to mainland during decolonization number less than 100,000, since 1990 East Europeans have entered Portugal

Religions: Roman Catholic 84.5%, other Christian 2.2%, other 0.3%, unknown 9%, none 3.9% (2001 census)

Languages: Portuguese and Mirandes (officially recognised and is part of the school curriculum in the county of Miranda de Douro, eventhough this dialect is not commonly used there are projects for the revival of he historic language

Education expenditures: 5.8% of GDP (2009)

Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 95.2%
Male: 96.9%
Female: 93.6% (2010 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 16 years
male: 16 years
female: 16 years (2008)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:
total: 30.1%
male: 28.7%
female: 31.7% (2011)

Standard of living: The standard of living in Portugal is still relatively low in comparison with some of its fellow EU members although recently Portugal has begun to make real progress in this area. GDP per capita in 2010 was $23,113 (IMF 2010). The minimum wage (monthly) is 475 euros. The average monthly wage is 894 euros (GEP 2008).

Business Hours: Most businesses are open from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Public Holidays
Portugal has 13 national holidays and 1 local holiday each year. Public holidays falling on Saturday or Sunday are not made up during the week. The national holidays designated for 2011 and 2012 are listed below. Dates in italics vary from year to year.

New Year's Day
1 January
1 January
Carnival Day
12 February
4 March
Good Friday
29 March
18 April
31 March
20 April
Liberation Day
25 April
25 April
Labour Day
1 May
1 May
National Day
10 June
10 June
Ascension Day
15 August
15 August
Immaculate Conception Day
8 December
8 December
Christmas Day
25 December
25 December

Source: CIA World Fact Book

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History & Political situation: Portugal was a monarchy from the 11th Century until 1910 when an armed uprising in Lisbon drove King Manuel II into exile and a republic was instigated. A period of great political instability ensued until eventually the military intervened. A new Constitution was drawn up in 1933, which gave formal expression to the corporative "Estado Novo" (New State), personified by Dr Salazar, who ruled the country from 1932 until 1968. Dr Caetano succeeded Salazar but his failure to liberalise the regime or to terminate the wars in the African colonies resulted in his Government being overthrown by a military coup on 25 April 1974.

The country underwent a period of dramatic and turbulent change after the coup. The African colonies were given their independence, censorship was abolished and trade unions permitted. A new national assembly based on universal suffrage was elected. The banks and many of the country's most important industries were nationalised and large agricultural estates were seized. In November 1975 a coup by the extreme left was narrowly averted by the firm action of a small group of moderate army officers. This was followed by a move back to the centre in politics, resulting in the election in April 1976 of the first constitutional Government under the Socialist leader Dr Mario Soares.

Country name:
Conventional long form: Portuguese Republic
Conventional short form: Portugal
Local long form: República Portuguesa
Local short form: Portugal

Government type: Parliamentary democracy

Capital: Lisbon
Geographic coordinates: 38 43 N, 9 08 W
Time difference: GMT +0
Daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

Administrative divisions: 18 districts (distritos, singular - distrito) and 2 autonomous regions* (regiões autónomas, singular - região autónoma); Aveiro, Açores (Azores)*, Beja, Braga, Bragança, Castelo Branco, Coimbra, Évora, Faro, Guarda, Leiria, Lisboa, Madeira*, Portalegre, Porto, Santarém, Setúbal, Viana do Castelo, Vila Real, Viseu

Independence:1143 (Kingdom of Portugal recognized) - independent republic proclaimed 5 October 1910

National holiday:Portugal Day (Dia de Portugal), 10 June (1580); note - also called Camoes Day, the day that revered national poet Luis de Camoes (1524-80) died

Constitution: adopted 2 April 1976; subsequently revised note: the revisions placed the military under strict civilian control, trimmed the powers of the president, and laid the groundwork for a stable, pluralistic liberal democracy; they allowed for the privatization of nationalized firms and government-owned communications media.
Revised 30 October 1982, 1 June 1989, 5 November 1992, and 3 September 1997

Legal system: Civil law system; the Constitutional Tribunal reviews the constitutionality of legislation; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations.

The constitution provides for universal access to the courts. This concept was incorporated into the constitution by the amendment of 1982. Criminal defendants lacking financial resources are not denied access to the legal system. The courts have the exclusive power to administer the law. The various courts and their functions are described below. Courts of Primary Jurisdiction are designated county courts and can, as a rule, hear most cases of a general nature. They can also act as a specialist court in matters relating to criminal cases, family law, minors, labor law and other similar areas. In cases in which the value involved is less than €3,740.98, the courts' decisions are final. Cases in which the amounts exceed this sum can be appealed against to the Court of Secondary Jurisdiction. Courts of Secondary Jurisdiction act as a court of appeal for legal decisions of the Court of Primary Jurisdiction. A decision of the Court of Secondary Jurisdiction may be appealed to the Supreme Court if the value of the matter at issue exceeds €14,963.94. Otherwise, the decision is final.

The Supreme Court of Justice is the highest court. It sits in Lisbon and hears cases from all parts of the country. It may render decisions in civil, criminal and commercial matters.

The Constitutional Court hears only cases that involve fundamental principles, such as those contained in the constitution.
Portugal also has administrative courts and tax courts. Administrative courts handle all matters involving the local and national governments, while the tax court hears tax cases. Both courts have primary and secondary levels. Certain decisions of the Court of Secondary Jurisdiction, including those on administrative matters, may be appealed to the Supreme Administrative Court.

The Central Administrative Court, which sits in Lisbon, serves as an intermediary court between administrative courts and the Supreme Administrative Court. This court was created in 1996 to hear cases that were previously heard by the Supreme Administrative Court.

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
Chief of state: President Anibal CAVACO SILVA (since 9 March 2006)
The President is directly elected for a five-year period and may serve for a maximum of two consecutive terms. The chief powers of the president are the right to appoint the prime minister.
The socialist democrat Anibal Cavaco Silva was re-elected president in January 2011 and is serving a five-year term.

Head of government: Prime Minister: Pedro Manuel Mamede PASSOS COELHO (since 21 June 2011)

Cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the President on the recommendation of the Prime Minister.
(For more information visit the World Leaders website )
(note: there is also a Council of State that acts as a consultative body to the President)

Elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 23 January 2011 (next to be held in January 2016); following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or leader of a majority coalition usually appointed prime minister by the president

Election results: Anibal CAVACO SILVA reelected president; percent of vote - Anibal CAVACO SILVA 53%, Manuel ALEGRE 19.8%, Fernando NOBRE 14.1%, Francisco LOPES 7.1%, Manuel COELHO 4.5%, Defensor MOURA 1.6%

Legislative branch: unicameral Assembly of the Republic or Assembleia da Republica (230 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held on 5 June 2011 (next to be held in 2015)
election results: percent of vote by party - PPD/PSD 38%, PS 28%, CDS/PP 11%, PCP/PEV (see CDU) 7%, BE 5%, other 11%; seats by party - PPD/PSD 108, PS 74, CDS/PP 24, PCP/PEV (see CDU) 16, BE 8

Judicial branch: Constitutional Court (Tribunal Constitucional) consists of 13 judges (10 appointed by the Assembly and 3 are coopted by the 10 judges) for six-year terms; Supreme Court (Supremo Tribunal de Justica); Audit Court (auditoria do Tribunal); Supreme Administrative Court (Supremo Tribunal Administrativo); all judges are appointed for life by the Conselho Superior da Magistratura

Political parties and leaders: Democratic and Social Center/Popular Party or CDS/PP [Paulo PORTAS]; Social Democratic Party or PPD/PSD [Pedro PASSOS COELHO]; Socialist Party or PS [António COSTA]; The Left Bloc or BE [Pedro Filipe SOARES]; Unitarian Democratic Coalition or CDU [Jeronimo DE SOUSA] (includes Portuguese Communist Party or PCP and Ecologist Party ("The Greens") or PEV)

Political pressure groups and leaders: Armed Forces Officers' Association (AOFA) [Colonel Pereira CRACEL]; the Desperate Generation (youth movement protesting against low wages, precarious labor conditions, and unemployment); the General Workers Union or General Confederation of Portuguese Workers (UGT) [Joao PROENCA]; Portuguese National Workers' Conference (CGTP) [Armenio CARLOS]; TugaLeaks (a website that has become a mouthpiece for publicizing diverse protest action) other: the media; labor unions

International organization participation:ADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), Australia Group, BIS, CD, CE, CERN, CPLP, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EIB, EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, FATF, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAIA (observer), MIGA, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club (associate), PCA, Schengen Convention, SELEC (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNMIT, UNSC (temporary), UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC

Flag description: two vertical bands of green (hoist side, two-fifths) and red (three-fifths) with the national coat of arms (armillary sphere and Portuguese shield) centered on the dividing line; explanations for the color meanings are ambiguous, but a popular interpretation has green symbolizing hope and red the blood of those defending the nation

National Anthem:
name: "A Portugesa" (The Song of the Portuguese)
lyrics/music: Henrique LOPES DE MENDOCA/Alfredo KEIL
note: adopted 1910; "A Portuguesa" was originally written to protest the Portuguese monarchy's acquiescence to the 1890 British ultimatum forcing Portugal to give up areas of Africa; the lyrics refer to the "insult" that resulted from the event.

Source: CIA World Fact Book

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Economy overview: The Global Competitiveness Report for 2012-13, published by the World Economic Forum, places Portugal on the 49th position.

Portugal Country report

Portugal has become a diversified and increasingly service-based economy since joining the European Community - the EU''s predecessor - in 1986. Over the following two decades, successive governments privatized many state-controlled firms and liberalized key areas of the economy, including the financial and telecommunications sectors. The country qualified for the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) in 1998 and began circulating the euro on 1 January 2002 along with 11 other EU members. The economy grew by more than the EU average for much of the 1990s, but the rate of growth slowed in 2001-08.

The economy contracted 2.5% in 2009, before growing 1.4% in 2010, but GDP fell again in 2011 and 2012, as the government began implementing spending cuts and tax increases to comply with conditions of an EU-IMF financial rescue package, agreed to in May 2011. GDP per capita stands at roughly two-thirds of the EU-27 average. Portugal also has been increasingly overshadowed by lower-cost producers in Central Europe and Asia as a destination for foreign direct investment, in part because its rigid labor market hindered greater productivity and growth.

However, the government of Pedro PASSOS COELHO has enacted several measures to introduce more flexibility into the labor market, and, this, along with steps to reduce high levels of public debt, could make Portugal more attractive to foreign investors. The government reduced the budget deficit from 10.1% of GDP in 2009 to 4.5% in 2011, an achievement made possible only by the extraordinary revenues obtained from the one-time transfer of bank pension funds to the social security system.

The budget deficit worsened in 2012 as a sharp reduction in domestic consumption took a bigger bite out of value-added tax revenues while rising unemployment benefits increased expenditures more than anticipated. Poor growth prospects over the next year have reinforced investors'' concerns about the government''s ability to achieve its budget deficit targets and regain full access to bond market financing when the EU-IMF financing program expires in 2013.

Financial System

The banking sector, together with money and capital markets, has developed steadily since Portugal joined the EU. Economic growth, increased competition and the easing of government controls have contributed to the growth of the sector. In 1992, new legislation governing banking activities entered into force (Decree Law No. 298/92, of 31 December 1992), classifying entities as credit institutions and finance companies, and implementing EU directives on bank coordination and supervision of credit institutions.

Central Bank

The central bank is named Bank of Portugal (BOP). Under the European System of Central Banks, the European Central Bank (ECB) has assumed the BOP's role in determining monetary policy. The ECB implements euro monetary policy. For example, it issues banknotes, establishes payment systems and conducts foreign-exchange operations. The BOP is the administrator and regulator of the banking system and has powers of supervision and inspection. It authorizes the establishment of credit institutions and finance companies as branches or subsidiaries of companies incorporated in other EU member states. The Ministry of Finance is responsible for licensing non-EU banks, which must operate as Portuguese branches of such banks.

Stock Exchange and Securities Regulating Authority

Securities Exchanges

In 2001, the Lisbon and Oporto Stock Exchange joined Euronext and changed its name to Euronext-Lisbon.

Euronext was originally created by the merger of the stock exchanges in Amsterdam, Brussels and Paris in response to growing demand from investors, a political environment favourable to further consolidation in the European capital market and a desire to capitalize on the greater liquidity and lower costs resulting from the introduction of the euro.

Euronext-Lisbon lists several types of securities, including public and private bonds, shares, convertible bonds, futures, options and warrants. The spot market of the exchange continues to be located in Lisbon, while the derivative market is located in Oporto. The spot market consists of the following three sections: the official market; the secondary market; and the unlisted market.

All stock exchange transactions must be executed by brokers or dealers, who supervise compliance with the relevant laws.

In 1993, the unlisted market was established to prevent the proliferation of trading in unofficial markets. This market covers transactions that may be conducted on the stock exchange but do not fulfill all the requirements for admittance to the official quotation market. For example, the issuer of the securities may have insufficient share capital or too few shares owned by the public.

To be listed on the stock exchange, companies must satisfy the following requirements:

  • The company must have a minimum share capital of €2.5 million; and
  • At least 25% of the company's shares must be available for public quotation.

A company intending to quote its shares must file a petition (admission request) with the Portuguese Securities Market Commission (Comissão do Mercado de Valores Mobiliários, or CMVM).

An issuing company must publish a prospectus prepared in accordance with the law. The prospectus, which must be approved by the CMVM, provides detailed information about the share issue and the issuing company.

Repo and securities lending transactions are made outside a regulated market. However, Euronext-Lisbon provides several services with respect to such transactions, including clearing, the providing of bid-offer quotations and the guaranteeing of the performance of certain aspects of the transactions.

Securities Regulating Authority

Decree Law 142-A/91 of 10 April 1991 established the CMVM as the authority in charge of the supervision and regulation of securities and other financial instruments markets in Portugal.
To carry out its supervisory functions, the CMVM engages in several types of activities, including the following:

  • Monitoring the activities of entities under its supervision, including securities issuers, financial intermediaries, investment funds, and risk rating companies;
  • Monitoring compliance with laws and regulations;
  • Maintaining registries of certain transactions, including public offers of securities and takeover bids;
  • Disseminating information about companies with shares listed on the Portuguese Stock Exchange; and
  • Issuing of ordinances and specific recommendations.

The CMVM also regulates the functioning of securities markets, public offers of securities and the activities of financial market operators by issuing guidance, such as regulations and recommendations.

Source: Doing Business in Portugal – 2003 by Ernst & Young in 26 June 2003

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Economy Indicators

GDP: purchasing power parity - $243.3 billion (2013 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: -1.8% (2013 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $22,900 (2013 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Agriculture: 2.6%
Industry: 22.6%
Services: 75.2%
(2013 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars

Population below poverty line: 18% (2006 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Lowest 10%: 3.1%
Highest 10%: 28.4%
(1995 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
0.4% (2013 est.)
2.9% (2012 est.)

Labour force: 5.395 million (2013 est.)

Labour force - by occupation:
Services: 59.8%
Industry: 28.5%
Agriculture: 11.7%
(2009 est.)

Unemployment rate: 16.8% (2013 est.)

Agriculture - products: grain, potatoes, tomatoes, olives, grapes; sheep, cattle, goats, pigs, poultry, dairy products, fish
Industries: textiles, clothing, footwear, wood and cork, paper, chemicals, auto-parts manufacturing, base metals, porcelain and ceramics, glassware, technology, telecommunications, dairy products, wine and other foods, ship construction and refurbishment, tourism
Industrial production growth rate: -2% (2011 est.)

Exports: USD$57.8 billion (2012 est.)

Exports - commodities:agricultural products, food products, wine, oil products, chemical products, plastics and rubber, hides, leather, wood and cork, wood pulp and paper, textile materials, clothing, footwear, machinery and tools, base metals

Exports - partners:
Spain 25.1%, Germany 13.6%, France 12.1%, Angola 5.5%, UK 5.1% (2011)

Imports: USD$68.22 billion (2010 est.)

Imports - commodities: agricultural products, food products, oil products, chemical products, plastics and rubber, skins and leather, wood and cork, wood pulp and paper, textile materials, clothing, footwear, minerals and mineral products, base metals, machinery and tools, vehicles and other transport material, and optical and precision instruments, computer accessories and parts, semi-conductors and related devices, household goods, passenger cars new and used, and wine products

Imports - partners:
Spain 31.8%, Germany 12.4%, France 6.9%, Italy 5.4%, Netherlands 4.8% (2011)

Debt - external: $548.3 billion (30/06/2011)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $21.34 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

Currency: Portuguese escudo (PTE) - no longer legal tender since March 2002; Euro (EUR)

Before 1 January 1999, the currency in Portugal was the escudo (PTE). Effective from that date, Portugal adopted the euro (€) as its currency. The conversion rate for the escudo and the euro was fixed at PTE 200.482=€ 1.

The introduction of the euro required substantial technological upgrades in every sector of the economy, including banking and telecommunications.

The introduction of euro coins and notes occurred on 1 January 2002. Effective from 1 March 2002, only euro coins and notes are accepted.

(Note: on 1 January 1999, the EU introduced the euro as a common currency that is now being used by financial institutions in Portugal at a fixed rate of 200.482 Portuguese escudos per euro and will replace the local currency for all transactions in 2002)

Fiscal year: calendar year.

Source: CIA World Fact Book

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Electricity - production: 50.3 billion kWh (2010 est.)

Electricity - consumption: 47.81 billion kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - exports:3.191 billion kWh (2010 est.)

Electricity - imports: 5.814 billion kWh (2010 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity: 17.39 million kW (2009 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels: 48.3% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels: 0% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants: 23.3% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources: 22.5% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)

Crude oil - production: 1,926 bbl/day (2011 est.)

Crude oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Crude oil - imports: 205,400 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves: NA bbl (1 January 2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production: 237,000 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption: 259,700 bbl/day (2011 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports: 49,650 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports: 83,520 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2010 est.)

Natural gas - consumption: 5.212 billion cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - imports: 5.181 billion cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2012 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy: 51.43 million Mt (2010 est.)


Total: 3,319 km
Broad gauge: 2,700 km 1.668-m gauge (1436 km electrified)
Narrow gauge: 192 km 1.000-m gauge (2008)

Total: 82.900 km
Paved: 71.294 km (including 2613 km of expressways)
Unpaved: 11.606 km (2008)

210 km (on Douro River from Porto) (2011)

Pipelines: Gas 1,307 km; oil 11 km; refined products 188 km (2010)

Ports and harbors: Aveiro, Funchal (Madeira Islands), Horta (Azores), Leixoes, Lisbon, Porto, Ponta Delgada (Azores), Praia da Vitoria (Azores), Setubal, Viana do Castelo

Merchant marine:
Total: 109 ships
Ships by type: bulk carrier 8, cargo 35, carrier 1, chemical tanker 21, container 7, liquefied gas 6, passenger 13, passenger/cargo 5, petroleum tanker 7, roll on/roll off 1, vehicle carrier 9
foreign-owned: 81 (Belgium 8, Colombia 1, Denmark 4, Germany 14, Greece 2, Italy 12, Japan 9, Mexico 1, Norway 2, Spain 18, Sweden 3, Switzerland 3, US 4)
registered in other countries: 15 (Cyprus 2, Malta 3, Panama 10) (2010)

Airports: 65 (2012.)

Airports - with paved runways:
Total: 43
Over 3,047 m: 5
2,438 to 3,047 m: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m: 8
914 to 1,523 m: 13
Under 914 m: 10 (2012)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
Total: 22
914 to 1,523 m: 1
Under 914 m: 21 (2012)

Source: CIA World Fact Book

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Military branches: Portuguese Army (Exercito Portuguesa), Portuguese Navy (Marinha Portuguesa; includes Marine Corps), Portuguese Air Force (Forca Aerea Portuguesa, FAP) (2010)

Military service age and obligation: 18-30 years of age for voluntary military service; no compulsory military service, but conscription possible if insufficient volunteers available; women serve in the armed forces, on naval ships since 1993, but are prohibited from serving in some combatant specialties; reserve obligation to age 35 (2012)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 2,566,264
females age 16-49: 2,458,297 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 2,103,080
females age 16-49: 2,018,004 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
males: 62,208
females: 54,786 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 2.3% (2005 est)

Source: CIA World Fact Book

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Last updated in Feb 2013 by the British-Portuguese Chamber of Commerce

Portugal - Social & Business Etiquette

Portuguese Society & Culture

The Family

  • The family is the foundation of the social structure and forms the basis of stability.
  • The extended family is quite close.
  • The individual derives a social network and assistance from the family.
  • Loyalty to the family comes before other social relationships, even business.
  • Nepotism is considered a good thing, since it implies that employing people one knows and trusts is of primary importance.

  • Portuguese are traditional and conservative.
  • They are a people who retain a sense of formality when dealing with each other, which is displayed in the form of extreme politeness.

Appearances Matter
  • In Portuguese society appearance is very important, especially in the cities.
  • People are fashion conscious and believe that clothes indicate social standing and success.
  • They take great pride in wearing good fabrics and clothes of the best standard they can afford.

  • Portugal is a culture that respects hierarchy.
  • Society and business are highly stratified and vertically structured.
  • Both the Catholic Church and the family structure emphasize hierarchical relationships.
  • People respect authority and look to those above them for guidance and decision-making.
  • Rank is important, and those senior to you in rank must always be treated with respect
  • This need to know who is in charge leads to an authoritarian approach to decision- making and problem solving.
  • In business, power and authority generally reside with one person who makes decisions with little concern about consensus building with their subordinates.

Etiquette and Customs in Portugal

Meeting & Greeting

  • Initial greetings are reserved, yet polite and gracious.
  • The handshake accompanied by direct eye contact and the appropriate greeting for the time of day.
  • Once a personal relationship has developed, greetings become more personal: men may greet each other with a hug and a handshake and women kiss each other twice on the cheek starting with the right.

  • The proper form of address is the honorific title 'senhor' and 'senhora' with the surname.
  • Anyone with a university degree is referred to with the honorific title, plus 'doutour' or 'doutoura' ('doctor') with or without their surname.
  • Wait until invited before moving to a first-name basis.
  • Use the formal rather than the informal case until your Portuguese friend suggests otherwise.

Gift Giving Etiquette
  • If you are invited to a Portuguese home for dinner, bring flowers, good quality chocolates or candy to the hostess.
  • Do not bring wine unless you know which wines your hosts prefer.
  • Do not give 13 flowers. The number is considered unlucky.
  • Do not give lilies or chrysanthemums since they are used at funerals.
  • Do not give red flowers since red is the symbol of the revolution.
  • Gifts are usually opened when received.

Dining Etiquette
  • If invited to a dinner arrive no more than 15 minutes after the stipulated time.
  • You may arrive between 30 minutes and one hour later than the stipulated time when invited to a party or other large social gathering.
  • Dress conservatively. There is little difference between business and social attire.
  • Do not discuss business in social situations.
  • If you did not bring a gift to the hostess, send flowers the next day.
  • Table manners are formal.
  • Remain standing until invited to sit down. You may be shown to a particular seat.
  • Table manners are Continental -- the fork is held in the left hand and the knife in the right while eating.
  • Do not begin eating until the hostess says "bom apetite"
  • Do not rest your elbows on the table, although your hands should be visible at all times
  • Most food is eaten with utensils, including fruit and cheese.
  • Keep your napkin to the left of your plate while eating. Do not place the napkin in your lap. When you have finished eating, move your napkin to the right of your plate.
  • If you have not finished eating, cross your knife and fork on your plate with the fork over the knife.
  • Leave some food on your plate when you have finished eating.
  • Indicate you have finished eating by laying your knife and fork parallel on your plate, tines facing up, with the handles facing to the right.

Business Etiquette and Protocol

Building Relationships & Communication

  • The Portuguese prefer to do business with those they feel comfortable with, which means those that they know they can trust.
  • Therefore, it is advisable to have a mutual contact provide the initial introduction.
  • Expect to invest a great deal of time developing the relationship.
  • The Portuguese prefer face-to-face meetings rather than written or telephonic communication, which are seen as too impersonal.
  • Relationships are built with people, not companies.
  • If you change representatives or people on a negotiating team once negotiations have started, the relationship-building process will have to begin again.
  • It is important that you treat business colleagues with respect and not do anything to embarrass them.
  • Communication is formal and relies on strict rules of protocol.
  • If your Portuguese business colleagues have questions or want clarification during a presentation, they will wait until you have finished speaking and not interrupt.
  • Although honest, the Portuguese do not volunteer information unless solicited, especially if remaining silent is in their best interest.
  • Although the Portuguese are not emotive speakers and do not use hand gestures, they may be demonstrative when greeting friends. If you tend to use hand gestures while speaking, you may wish to moderate your behaviour since it may incorrectly be viewed as overtly demonstrative
  • Portugal is a hierarchical culture that respects age and position.
  • Defer to those in senior positions and maintain a sense of formality in written communication.
  • Do not be concerned if your Portuguese colleagues fail to follow through on promises.
  • They have a more relaxed attitude towards time and do not see deadlines as crucial as people from many other cultures do.
    They do not appreciate direct criticism, even if you consider it to be justified

Business Meeting Etiquette
  • Appointments are mandatory and should be made 1 to 2 weeks in advance.
  • Reconfirm the meeting a few days in advance.
  • Initial correspondence should be written in Portuguese.
  • Since most Portuguese take vacation during August, it is not an ideal time to try to schedule meetings. It is also best not to plan meetings during the week between Christmas and New Year.
  • You should arrive on time for meetings.
  • In many circles, 5 minutes late is considered on time.
  • Punctuality displays respect for the person you are meeting. If you are kept waiting, it is important that you not appear irritated.
  • People from the north are generally more punctual than those in the south.
  • A fair amount of getting-to-know-you conversation may take place before the business conversation begins.
  • Agendas serve as starting points for discussions; they do not serve as schedules.
  • Presentations should be well thought-out, thorough, and backed up with charts and figures.
  • Decisions are not reached at meetings.
  • Maintain eye contact when speaking.
  • Meetings may be interrupted.
  • Do not remove your jacket unless your business associates do so.

  • Portuguese put great importance on the character of the person with whom they do business, so they will take time to get to know you.
  • Wait for your Portuguese colleagues to bring up business. Never rush the relationship-building process 
  • Portuguese are very thorough and detail-oriented.
  • Portuguese prefer to do business for the long-term although at times they focus on short-term gains.
  • Business is conducted slowly. You must not appear impatient.
  • Have printed material available in both English and Portuguese.
  • Do not use high-pressure sales tactics. Portuguese are offended by aggressive behaviour.
  • Portuguese business is hierarchical. The highest-ranking person makes decisions.
  • Portuguese negotiate with people - not companies. Do not change your negotiating team or you may have to start over from the beginning.
  • Contracts are respected.

This material is the creation and intellectual property of Kwintessential Ltd (

British Exporters to Portugal

Product Promotion

Trade Partners UK offers British companies a range of subsidised commercial publicity services designed to assist and enhance their export strategies.

BBC World Service

The BBC World Service broadcasts throughout the world, in English and 43 other languages. An important part of their output deals with developments in British industry, science and technology.

New products and processes, developed by firms in this country, are featured prominently in news and other programmes, with the name of the manufacturer mentioned, where appropriate. All enquiries reaching the BBC as a result of the broadcasts, are passed on to the firms concerned.

The BBC World Service welcomes as much information as possible from industry. It is interested in new processes and products, contracts involving new technology and innovative exhibits at trade fairs abroad. Information can be e-mailed to :

British exporters are advised to consult their advertising agents before embarking on an advertising campaign. Alternatively, exporters can seek advice from:

Overseas Press and Media Association

15 Magrath Avenue

Contact: Jackie Dunn
Tel/Fax: 01223 512631

Sales Promotion

Whilst it is preferable for correspondence to be in Portuguese, it may also be conducted in English or French. Companies should avoid the use of Spanish. Trade literature should be in Portuguese. English is by far the favoured second language used in the field of commerce.

Trade Partners UK's National Languages for Export Campaign can help companies develop effective language and cultural strategies to succeed in non-English speaking markets.

You must quote in euros. Preparations are more advanced in the financial sector and in large businesses than in small and medium-sized businesses. Large importers are already using the euro, given the advantages of lower transaction costs and transparent pricing between euro-zone countries.

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Export Finance & Insurance

The Trade Partners UK Export Finance team encourages the availability of competitive export finance to all UK companies seeking to export goods or services or invest overseas. For further information on how we can help you, please see the Export Finance pages.

Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD)
The ECGD can provide insurance or arrange medium/long-term finance packages in a wide range of markets worldwide for UK exporters of capital goods and projects. They can also provide contacts for private sector insurance for UK exporters of consumables. For more information on how ECGD may be able to help you visit the EGCD website or contact their helpline: Tel: 020 7512 7887

Insurance for short-term credit

A number of companies provide insurance for short-term credit to guard against non-payment, such as:

Gerling NCM
Tel: 0046 85 66 221 00
Fax: 0046 82 16 158

Euler Trade Indemnity
Tel: 020 7512 9333
Fax: 020 7512 9186

Association of British Insurers
Tel: 020 7600 3333
Fax: 020 7696 8999

Coface UK
Tel: 020 7325 7500
Fax: 020 7325 7699

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You will need to get your products and services to the customer on time.

The main options for Portugal are road, airfreight, sea freight, post, air parcel post, express or courier service and rail freight.

The decision is based upon a mix of four requirements: speed, cost, reliability and product requirement (e.g. fragile or hanging garments)

For all methods, except post, it is often easier to use a freight forwarder. Forwarders should be approached in the early stages of market research rather than waiting until the goods are ready to go.

The British International Freight Association's New Importer / Exporter Initiative aims to provide specialist help and assistance to companies who are new to exporting. This service, available through selected BIFA registered members, offers up to one day's free consultancy to advise companies on such matters as modes of transport, distribution methods, costing, documentation and payment terms. They can be contacted on 020 8844 2266.

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All Portuguese telephone numbers (fixed and mobile) have nine digits. The first digit for all telephone numbers of the fixed network is '2'. The second digit indicates the town. When in Portugal dial e.g.:

British Embassy in Lisbon: 21 392 4000
British Consulate on Oporto: 22 618 4789

When dialling from the UK dial:

00 351 21 3924000
00 351 22 6184789

As regards the mobile telephone numbers, they start with '91' or '93' or '96' or '92'. There is detailed information available (in Portuguese and in English) on pricing on ICP website

Emergency services in Portugal can be contacted by dialling 112.


Available at fax bureaux and large hotels in major cities. Like telephone numbers, all fax numbers have 9 digits. See above for method of dialling.


Post Offices (correios) are usually open 0900-1800 Monday to Friday. Central post offices and those at airports are open Saturday. Airmail to European destinations from continental Portugal and the Azores takes three days; from Madeira, up to five days. The Portuguese equivalent of the Royal Mail is Correios de Portugal. Their website is .

Courier services

All major courier services will deliver to Portugal.

TNT's international operations are focused on the key areas of world trade in Europe, Asia, North and South America. TNT also have strong domestic networks in Australia.

DHL World-wide Express maintains offices around the world in over 200 countries

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Standards & Techincal Specifications

The Portuguese Standards/Technical regulatory authority is:

Instituto Portugues de Qualidade
Rua C a Avenida dos Tres Vales
2825 Monte da Caparica
Tel: 00 35121 2948100
Fax: 00 35121 2948101

Technical Help for Exporters (THE) is a service provided by the British Standards Institution (BSI) to provide information and advice on compliance with overseas statutory and other technical requirements.

THE produces a wide range of publications and provides a special updating service of information in some product fields. THE can supply detailed information on foreign regulations; identify, supply and assist in the interpretation of foreign standards and approval procedures; research and consult on technical requirements for a specific product; and provide translations of foreign standards, items of legislation and codes of practice.

Fees vary according to the amount of work involved.

For further information visit the British Standards Institution (BSI) website or e-mail:

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Labelling & Packing Regulations

In 1986 the Portuguese Government passed a general law (Decree Law 238/86 of August 1986) stipulating that the Portuguese language must be used on all labels, packaging, brochures, catalogues, instruction manuals, trade literature, contracts, advertising, invoices, receipts, price-lists and all or any other printed or verbal material in any way relating to the provision of goods and services in the Portuguese market.

Between the 1970s and the present time, a plethora of specific laws have been passed regulating the provision of specific goods or services but all have been unanimous in stipulating that the description of such goods or services must be in the Portuguese language.

As this led to heated debates in Portugal about the validity of these laws under the terms of the Portuguese Constitution and EU requirements, the Government sought advice from the Attorney General. The lengthy opinion produced by the Attorney General was published in the 'Diário da República' of June 1993. The bottom line is that the Portuguese consume is entitled to full information on the product or service on offer and the information must be provided in the Portuguese language. The opinion even goes as far as stipulating that the words 'Made in…' must be translated into 'Fabricado em…'.

From the UK exporter's perspective a label containing the requisite information in the Portuguese language, may be affixed over the original label - but the lettering must be the same size (or larger) than on the original label. The labels in Portuguese only need to be affixed prior to the goods being put up for retail sale.

With regard to packaging, from the 1 January 1998 new Portuguese legislation came into effect for the prevention and reduction of the impact which packaging is having on the environment (in particular consumer goods packaging). There are two options open to companies supplying to the Portuguese consumer goods market:-

  1. Sale and return of packaging against deposit
  2. Join the 'Green Point' scheme run in Portugal by Ponto Verde

Sociedade Ponto Verde
Largo la Lagoa 7-E
2795 Linda-a-Velha
Tel: 00 351 1414 7300
Fax: 00 351 1414 5246

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Patents and Trademarks

Portuguese Patent Office:

Instituto Nacional de Propriedade Industrial
Campo das Cebolas
1149-035 Lisbon
Tel: 00 351 21 888 1101
Fax: 00 351 21 887 5308
Internet :

For information on obtaining a Patent, contact:

European Patent Office:
Erhardstrasse 2780331 Munich
Tel: (0049) 89 2399 4538 Fax (00 49) 89 2399 4465

For information on registering a Trademark, contact the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market:
Avenida de Aguilera 2003080 Alicante
Tel: (00 34) 96 513 9333
Fax: (00 34) 96 513 9173

The UK Patent Office supplies information on Patents, Designs, Trademark and Copyright, including free information packs. For further information e-mail: or contact the Central Enquiry Unit on 08459 500 505.

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Export Controls and Licensing

The UK Government maintains export controls to prevent the export of goods, including technology, for a variety of reasons including:

  • the collective security of the UK and its allies in NATO
  • national security and foreign policy requirements
  • international legal obligations and commitments
  • non-proliferation policy
  • concerns about terrorism
  • internal repression
  • other human rights violations
  • If goods or technologies are subject to UK export controls, a licence is required to gain the legal authority to export them. The Department of Trade and Industry is the licensing authority.

    The DTI's Export Control Organisation's Helpline is the first point of contact for information on export controls. The Helpline provides advice on many issues, including how to establish whether or not specific goods need an export licence, the different types of export licences, how to complete export licence application forms and how long they take to process. The Helpline is also the point of contact for Export Control Organisation publications and licence application forms.

    The Defence Export Services Organisation (DESO) can provide information concerning the export of defence related equipment.

    For information concerning export controls on antiques and works of art, please visit the Department for Culture, Media and Sport website.

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Goods which are in free circulation within the European Union (i.e. those which are not liable to pay customs duty in the EU as they either originate there or the duty has already been paid) can move between Member States without any documentation. This does not apply to excise or controlled goods which still need documentation.

However it is advisable to still send normal commercial documentation with the export (e.g. invoices, packaging lists) for despatches to Portugal.

SITPRO - Simplifying International Trade
SITPRO is the UK's trade facilitation agency. It is dedicated to encouraging and helping business trade more effectively and simplifying the international trading process. Its field is within the procedures and documentation associated with international trade.

SITPRO manage the UK aligned system of export documents and license the printers and software suppliers who sell the forms, laser and export document software. SITPRO's other services, many of which are free of charge include:

  • a trade efficiency help desk
  • an extensive library of briefings covering topics from general export to payment and finance advice and individual country information
  • management guidelines booklet for traders
  • Letter of Credit (L/C) checklists
  • quarterly newsletter and comprehensive seminar programme.

For further information contact:

Tel: 020 7467 7280
Fax: 020 7467 7295

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Customs Duties & Additional Taxes

If goods are produced in the UK (or in any other EU member state) they are not liable to pay import duty on entry into Portugal. If goods have entered the EU from a non-member country and had any necessary import duty paid on them, they can enter Portugal without any further import duties being levied.

HM Customs and Excise can help you locate your local Customs Advice Centre and your local Excise and Inland Customs Advice Centre who are the first line of enquiry for routine tariff classification advice down to the 6 digit Harmonised System subheading level, used worldwide.

The Customs Classification Helpline can also provide advice on tariff classification numbers. The Helpline is open from 08.30-17.00, and a voicemail service is available outside these hours. Tel: 01702 366 077

Tariff information for many countries is available from the Market Access Database

Additional taxes

As of 1 January 1986 Portugal abolished all taxes and surcharges which were imposed prior to accession to the EU and introduced VAT (IVA).
The standard rate of VAT is currently 23%, but a lower rate of 6% applies to some basic foodstuffs and 13% for certain services, transferal of assets, certain exports etc.
The VAT rate for goods imported into Madeira and the Azores (although treated in exactly the same way as those imported into mainland Portugal) is 22%, 12% and 5% (Madeira) and 18%, 10% and 5% (Azores).

Telephone Directory

Trade Associations

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