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 75.4% 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 2020, the country mainly exported motor vehicles and their parts, petroleum oils, and footwear; importing chiefly the same category of products (petroleum oils, motor vehicles and their parts), medicaments and petroleum gas.

Data from Statistics Portugal (INE) shows that in 2020 the main trading partners were Spain (25.4% of total exports), France (13.6%), Germany (11.9%) and the UK (5.7%). Exports to the United Kingdom, the main destination outside the EU, fell by 15.6%. Portugal’s main suppliers were Spain (32.4%), Germany (13.3%), France (7.5%), and the Netherlands (5.5%). The main extra-EU supplier of goods to Portugal continued to be China, with imports from this partner increasing by 3.9% (4.5% of total imports). The largest deficits continued to be registered with Spain (EUR -8,453 million), Germany (EUR -2,709 million) and China (EUR -2,500 million).

The country has a structural trade balance deficit. In 2020, Portugal exported goods worth USD 61.5 billion (-8.2% year-on-year), with imports decreasing at a faster pace (-13.3, at USD 77.6 billion). However, Portugal is a net service exporter (USD 25.3 billion of exports against USD 15.6 billion of imports - data by WTO). The country’s overall balance of trade turned negative in 2020 (-2.1% of GDP) after seven consecutive years in positive territory. In the accumulated period January to October 2021, compared to the same period one year earlier, exports increased by 17.9% (+4.3% compared to the same period in 2019, before the pandemic) and imports rose by 18.1% (-0.8% vis-à-vis 2019 – data INE).

 
Foreign Trade Values 20162017201820192020
Imports of Goods (million USD) 67,56778,76389,06089,53877,600
Exports of Goods (million USD) 55,66262,13068,36167,06361,531
Imports of Services (million USD) 14,76916,35018,75619,81115,606
Exports of Services (million USD) 29,29733,95139,17139,31325,335

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

Foreign Trade Indicators 20162017201820192020
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 79.384.486.486.775.4
Trade Balance (million USD) -11,062-15,102-18,415-18,226-13,861
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) 3,5603,3512,1681,719-4,031
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 5.08.15.04.7-11.9
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 4.48.44.13.9-18.6
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 39.141.743.043.238.7
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 40.242.743.443.536.7

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 20212022 (e)2023 (e)2024 (e)2025 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change) 10.614.26.64.64.0
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) 8.712.05.94.24.0

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)
2020
Spain 25.4%
France 13.6%
Germany 11.9%
United Kingdom 5.7%
United States 5.0%
See More Countries 38.5%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2020
Spain 32.4%
Germany 13.3%
France 7.5%
Netherlands 5.5%
Italy 5.2%
See More Countries 36.0%

Source: Comtrade, 2022. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

Main Products

61.5 bn USD of products exported in 2020
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) 5.8%
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. 5.3%
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 3.9%
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) 2.4%
Revolution counters, production counters,...Revolution counters, production counters, taximeters, milometers, pedometers and the like (excl. gas, liquid and electricity meters); speed indicators and tachometers (excl. those of heading 9014 and 9015); stroboscopes 1.9%
See More Products 80.8%
77.9 bn USD of products imported in 2020
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 5.0%
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) 5.0%
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. 3.7%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses incl. those in the form of transdermal administration or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 3.1%
Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbonsPetroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons 1.9%
See More Products 81.5%

Source: Comtrade, 2022. 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

38.0 bn USD of services exported in 2018
52.92%
22.01%
13.70%
4.06%
2.47%
1.86%
0.94%
0.82%
0.48%
0.43%
0.32%
18.0 bn USD of services imported in 2018
30.06%
25.56%
24.15%
4.90%
4.82%
3.03%
2.77%
1.72%
1.56%
0.88%
0.56%

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, 2021. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

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Latest Update: June 2022