Portugal flag Portugal: Economic and Political Overview

Foreign trade figures of Portugal

Foreign Trade in Figures

Portugal's economy is open to foreign trade, which represents 86% of its GDP (World Bank, latest data available). While the country has traditionally exported agricultural products, textiles and clothing, it has begun to export an increasing amount of technological equipment. In 2021, the country mainly exported machinery and mechanical appliances (14.3%) and vehicles and other transport equipment (13.2%). The largest commercial surpluses remained in the transactions of mineral products, cellulose pulp and paper, clothing and footwear. The main product groups of imports were machinery (18.6%), chemical products (12.3%), mineral fuels (11.4%), and vehicle and their parts (10.4% - Statistics Portugal).

Data from Statistics Portugal (INE) shows that in 2021 the main trading partners were Spain (26.7% of total exports), France (13.1%), Germany (11%) and the U.S. (5.6%). Portugal’s main suppliers were Spain (32.8%), Germany (12.4%), France (6.7%), and the Netherlands (5.3%). The main extra-EU supplier of goods to Portugal continued to be China, with imports from this partner increasing by 28.6% (4.7% of total imports). Overall, the European Union accounted for 71.5% of exports and 73.6% of imports.

The country has a structural trade balance deficit. In 2021, Portugal exported goods worth USD 75.1 billion (+22.1% year-on-year), with imports increasing at a faster pace (+25.9%, at USD 97.7 billion). However, Portugal is a net service exporter (USD 32 billion in exports against USD 20.8 billion in imports - data by WTO). The country’s overall balance of trade was negative by 3% (was 2.1% one year earlier – World Bank). In the accumulated period January to October 2022, compared to the same period one year earlier, exports increased by 24.4% (EUR 72.5 billion) and imports rose by 33.4% (EUR 100.4 billion - data INE).

 
Foreign Trade Values 20172018201920202021
Imports of Goods (million USD) 78,76389,06089,53877,60097,713
Exports of Goods (million USD) 62,13068,36167,06361,53175,181
Imports of Services (million USD) 16,35018,75619,81115,60620,807
Exports of Services (million USD) 33,95139,17139,31325,33532,000

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20172018201920202021
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 84.486.486.676.286.2
Trade Balance (million USD) -15,102-18,415-18,226-14,236-18,745
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) 3,3512,1681,836-4,388-6,766
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 8.15.04.9-11.813.3
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 8.44.14.1-18.613.5
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 41.743.043.139.244.6
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 42.743.443.537.041.6

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 20222023 (e)2024 (e)2025 (e)2026 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change) 16.71.41.82.01.8
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) 10.83.21.51.51.8

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

 
International Economic Cooperation
Portugal is a member of the following international economic organisations: IMF, European Union, ICC, WHO, OECD, Schengen Convention, European Economic Area, Latin American Integration Association (observer), among others. For the full list of economic and other international organisations in which participates Portugal click here. International organisation membership of Portugal is also outlined here.
Free Trade Agreements
The up-to-date list of Free Trade Agreements signed by Portugal can be consulted here.
 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2022
Spain 26.0%
France 12.4%
Germany 10.9%
United States 6.5%
United Kingdom 4.9%
See More Countries 39.3%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2022
Spain 32.1%
Germany 11.2%
France 6.1%
China 5.1%
Netherlands 4.9%
See More Countries 40.7%

Source: Comtrade, 2023. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

Main Products

82.4 bn USD of products exported in 2022
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 6.9%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 5.1%
Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles...Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles for the transport of ten or more persons, motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, motor vehicles for the transport of goods and special purpose motor vehicles of heading 8701 to 8705, n.e.s. 3.9%
Uncoated paper and paperboard, of a kind used for...Uncoated paper and paperboard, of a kind used for writing, printing or other graphic purposes, and non-perforated punchcards and punch-tape paper, in rolls or in square or rectangular sheets, of any size, and handmade paper and paperboard (excl. newsprint of heading 4801 and paper of heading 4803) 2.2%
Footwear with outer soles of rubber, plastics,...Footwear with outer soles of rubber, plastics, leather or composition leather and uppers of leather (excl. orthopaedic footwear, skating boots with ice or roller skates attached, and toy footwear) 2.2%
See More Products 79.6%
115.0 bn USD of products imported in 2022
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 6.7%
Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbonsPetroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons 4.4%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 4.3%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 3.3%
Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles...Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles for the transport of ten or more persons, motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, motor vehicles for the transport of goods and special purpose motor vehicles of heading 8701 to 8705, n.e.s. 3.0%
See More Products 78.2%

Source: Comtrade, 2023. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

To go further, check out our service Import Export Flows.

 

Main Services

24.2 bn USD of services exported in 2020
36.45%
21.69%
21.32%
9.97%
3.48%
2.48%
1.54%
0.94%
0.81%
0.68%
0.67%
14.8 bn USD of services imported in 2020
30.33%
21.20%
21.19%
6.72%
5.92%
3.71%
3.20%
3.11%
2.04%
2.00%
0.59%

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, 2023. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

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Latest Update: November 2023

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