More information about Portugal is available on the Portugal Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.
United States-Portugal bilateral ties date from the earliest years of the United States, when Portugal recognized the United States in 1791 following the Revolutionary War. The oldest continuously operating U.S. Consulate in the world is located in Ponta Delgada on the island of Sao Miguel in the Azores. Contributing to the strong ties between the United States and Portugal are the presence of sizeable Portuguese communities in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, California, and Hawaii.
Maintaining a close and productive relationship with the United States ranks amongst Portugal’s foreign policy priorities, and the population is generally pro-America. The United States and Portugal cooperate in the United Nations, in various regional organizations, and bilaterally for peace, prosperity, and security.
Portugal became a charter member of NATO in 1949. It is an active member of the Alliance and its forces have been deployed to NATO operations in Afghanistan, as well as to EU and UN missions in the Mediterranean, Mali, the Central African Republic, and Somalia. Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO), the Alliance’s premier maritime battle staff and primary link for integrating U.S. maritime forces into NATO operations, has a hub in Lisbon. Portugal also hosts the NATO Joint Analysis and Lessons Learned Center and the NATO Communication and Information Academy. The U.S. Air Force’s 65th Air Base Group operates from Lajes Field, a Portuguese airbase on Terceira Island in the Azores, that serves as a logistics and communications hub for U.S Transportation Command, U.S. European Command, and NATO allies. Portugal is a strong partner in combating terrorism and deployed military trainers to Iraq in the fight against ISIL. Portugal’s law enforcement cooperation with the United States and other international partners to combat drug trafficking is outstanding, featuring multiple, highly successful joint investigations every year.
Pursuant to the 1995 Agreement on Cooperation and Defense, the U.S.-Portugal Standing Bilateral Commission meets semi-annually to review all aspects of the bilateral relationship, including international, political, diplomatic, defense and security, trade and investment, cooperation in the Azores, and justice and home affairs issues.
Portugal hosts six American Corners and one educational advising center to promote exchange opportunities, as well as discuss U.S. policy, history, culture, and values. The media corps is well-informed and professional, and most Portuguese public media reach beyond Portugal to other Lusophone countries and to Portuguese communities abroad. The U.S.-Portugal Fulbright Commission and the Luso-American Development Foundation both support various partnerships and initiatives to bolster innovation and exchange. Portugal’s exchange alumni network includes various emerging and established leaders, most notably current President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and current United Nations Secretary General, António Guterres.
U.S. Assistance to Portugal
The United States provides no development assistance to Portugal.
Bilateral Economic Relations
The United States is Portugal’s largest trading partner outside the European Union. Bilateral trade in goods and services reached $8.9 billion in 2019, a six percent increase from the previous year. In 2019, the United States exported $1.72 billion in goods to Portugal, with machinery, mineral fuels, aircraft, and vehicles as the leading products. The United States imported $3.89 billion from Portugal during the same period, with mineral fuels, cork, and machinery in the lead. The stock of U.S. direct investment in Portugal reached $2.83 billion in 2018, and U.S. companies are significant investors in the technology, banking, pharmaceutical and chemical industries, among others. Portugal and the United States have enacted an income tax agreement to prevent double taxation, and signed an agreement on implementation of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act in August 2015.
Portugal’s Membership in International Organizations
Portugal and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization. Portugal is an observer to the Organization of American States.
Principal embassy officials are listed in the Department’s Key Officers List.
More information about Portugal is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here: