U.S. Relations With Portugal

Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
Fact Sheet
November 29, 2016

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 was among the first countries to recognize the United States following the revolutionary war. The oldest continuously-operating U.S. Consulate is 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-American. 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 in 2016 its forces were deployed to NATO operations in Afghanistan, the Balkans, and Central and Eastern Europe, as well as to EU and UN missions in the Mediterranean, Mali, the Central African Republic, and Somalia. Portugal was one of three primary Allied nations to host Operation Trident Juncture, one of NATO’s largest-ever exercises, in October-November 2015. 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 and played a lead role in Trident Juncture. 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 hub for U.S Transportation Command, U.S. European Command, and NATO allies. Portugal is a strong partner in combating terrorism, most recently having 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 throughout 2015 and 2016.

Pursuant to the 1995 Agreement on Cooperation and Defense, the U.S.-Portugal Bilateral Commission meets semi-annually to review all aspects of the bilateral relationship, including defense cooperation, science and technology cooperation, bilateral trade and investment, cooperation in the Azores, justice and home affairs, and political and diplomatic cooperation. The U.S.-Portugal Fulbright Commission was founded in 1960 and funds graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and visiting professors.

U.S. Assistance to Portugal

The United States provides no development assistance to Portugal.

Bilateral Economic Relations

The United States became Portugal’s largest trading partner outside the European Union in 2015. Bilateral trade reached $4.2 billion in 2015, a thirty percent increase from five years earlier. The U.S. exported $970 million in goods in 2015, with civilian aircraft and components, machinery and agricultural commodities, the leading products. The U.S. imported $3.3 billion during the same time, with petroleum products, electric machinery and cork in the lead. U.S. direct investment in Portugal reached $2.0 billion in 2014, and U.S. companies are significant investors in the insurance, 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 implementing the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act in August of 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.

Bilateral Representation

The U.S. Ambassador to Portugal is Robert A. Sherman; other principal embassy officials are listed in the Department's Key Officers List.

Portugal maintains an embassy in the United States at 2012 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20036; tel. 202-350-5400.

More information about Portugal is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:

Department of State Portugal Page
Department of State Key Officers List
CIA World Factbook Portugal Page
U.S. Embassy: Portugal
History of U.S. Relations With Portugal
Human Rights Reports
International Religious Freedom Reports
Trafficking in Persons Reports
Narcotics Control Reports
Investment Climate Statements
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Export.gov International Offices Page
Library of Congress Country Studies
Travel and Business Information