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flag Portugal Portugal: Investing

In this page: FDI in Figures | Why You Should Choose to Invest in Portugal | Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment | Investment Opportunities


FDI in Figures

After a decline in foreign direct investments (FDI) in 2009-2010, FDI flows recovered when investors reacted positively to the government's fiscal consolidation efforts.
The FDI is considered a priority by the Portuguese government. The country has recently embarked on the development of renewable energies, specifically solar energy (the country has the second largest solar power station in the world) and wave energy (obtained from wave movements), sectors that could provide new opportunities to foreign investors. Portugal offers a diversified economy and benefits from its membership to the European Union; however, the bureaucratic and legal burdens can be a hindrance to FDI.


Country Comparison For the Protection of Investors

  Portugal OECD United States Germany
Index of Transaction Transparency* 6.0 6.0 7.0 5.0
Index of Manager’s Responsibility** 5.0 5.0 9.0 5.0
Index of Shareholders’ Power*** 7.0 9.0 5.0
Index of Investor Protection**** 6.0 6.1 8.3 5.0

Source: Doing Business - Last Available Data.

Note: *The Greater the Index, the More Transparent the Conditions of Transactions. **The Greater the Index, the More the Manager is Personally Responsible. *** The Greater the Index, the Easier it Will Be For Shareholders to Take Legal Action. **** The Greater the Index, the Higher the Level of Investor Protection.

Foreign Direct Investment 201120122013
FDI Inward Flow (million USD) 11,1508,9953,114
FDI Stock (million USD) 111,829119,779128,488
Performance Index*, Ranking on 181 Economies 68--
Potential Index**, Ranking on 177 Economies 57--
Number of Greenfield Investments*** 382645
FDI Inwards (in % of GFCF****)
FDI Stock (in % of GDP) 47.056.558.4

Source: UNCTAD - Last Available Data.

Note: * The UNCTAD Inward FDI Performance Index is Based on a Ratio of the Country's Share in Global FDI Inflows and its Share in Global GDP. ** The UNCTAD Inward FDI Potential Index is Based on 12 Economic and Structural Variables Such as GDP, Foreign Trade, FDI, Infrastructures, Energy Use, R&D, Education, Country Risk. *** Green Field Investments Are a Form of Foreign Direct Investment Where a Parent Company Starts a New Venture in a Foreign Country By Constructing New Operational Facilities From the Ground Up. **** Gross Fixed Capital Formation (GFCF) Measures the Value of Additions to Fixed Assets Purchased By Business, Government and Households Less Disposals of Fixed Assets Sold Off or Scrapped.

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Why You Should Choose to Invest in Portugal

Strong Points
Portugal's strong points are:
- The low labor costs;
- Its geographical situation. Portugal act as a bridge between 3 continents: Europe, Africa, America;
- its temperate climate;
- its socio-political stability and the non-existence of terrorism; and
- the stability of its currency.
You can consult the Ministry of the Economy website.
Weak Points
Portugal's weak points are its weak demography, low productivity and a certain rigidity in the labor law.
Government Measures to Motivate or Restrict FDI
Government policies have followed the priority established by the Prime Minister, to promote the country's appeal to foreign investors. In order to do this, simple taxation procedures have been put in place, effective warehousing and transport logistics have been set up (especially the Sines terminal in the South-West of the country), as well as improvements in telecommunication infrastructures, etc. An agency for investment and foreign trade has been established: the AICEP. Other measures have been implemented, including making the labor law more lenient in order to increase the workforce flexibility, and setting up a special aid regime for large projects (over 25 million EUR).

On 28 January 2013, the Government published regulations necessary for golden visa residence program. The golden visa residence program is a simple and fast-track residence permit program designed to attract foreign investment into the country.

Initiatives have been taken to improve business climate such as "Cutting Red Tape" website, a repository of information for all measures taken since 2005 to reduce bureaucracy; or the "Empresa na Hora" (Business in an Hour), which allows for the incorporation of companies in less than one hour.

Bilateral Investment Conventions Signed By Portugal
Portugal has signed bilateral agreements with almost fifty countries (not including the EU).
To see the list of countries, click here.
To see the conventions, click here.

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Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment

Freedom of Establishment
Acquisition of Holdings
Portuguese law allows a taking up of the capital or the acquisition of a Portuguese company up to 10% or more.
Obligation to Declare
Foreign investors may carry out all types of activities in the same conditions as a local investor. Foreign investment in Portugal is, on principle, free of all administrative control. The only formality that the foreign investor must comply with is registration, for statistical reasons, within 30 days of the investment.
Finally, investment projects "presenting a particular interest for the Portuguese economy" (projects over 4.9 million euros, especially those creating jobs, allowing industrial reconversion, ensuring the development of a priority region, or introducing new technologies) are subject to a particular procedure managed by the Institute for Investment, Trade and Tourism in a restructured Portugal "AICEP".
The agency for the promotion of foreign investment in the country can provide information about the authorizations necessary for setting up.
Competent Organization For the Declaration
Requests For Specific Authorizations
Portuguese government approval is required in the following sectors: defense, water management, public telecommunications operators, railway, maritime transportation and air transport. Investors wishing to establish new credit institutions or finance companies, acquire a controlling interest in such financial firms, and/or establish a subsidiary must have authorization from the Bank of Portugal (for EU firms) or the Ministry of Finance (for non-EU firms).

There are no restrictions on foreign investment in Portugal, but only an analysis of the legality of the project (applicable also to any project of national capital).
Consult the Guide for investors.

Learn more about Foreign Investment in Portugal on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

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Investment Opportunities

Investment Aid Agency
Institute for support for SMEs and investment (IAPMEI)
Tenders, Projects and Public Procurement
Tenders Info, Tenders in Portugal
Ted - Tenders Electronic daily, Business opportunities in EU 27
DgMarket, Tenders Worldwide
Base, Public Tenders on line (Portugal)
Other Useful Resources
Portuguese Tourist Institute

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Learn more about Investing in Portugal on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

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Last Updates: January 2015