Exporting guide to Portugal

Overview

Located on the western edge of the Iberian peninsula, Portugal is a good market for UK exporters. Anchored by the world’s oldest bilateral alliance trade links are strong, particularly within the tourism industry and expat communities.

Entry route to lusophone markets

Portugal is a gateway to Portuguese-speaking markets. These include Brazil, Angola and Mozambique.

Economic growth opportunities

The Portuguese economy is now growing consistently above the Eurozone average, with a very competitive knowledge-based export sector and a buoyant start up scene. Financial services, clean growth, life sciences and technology represent the biggest opportunities for British exports. Over the medium-term, there’s likely to be significant business opportunities in infrastructure, particularly rail and airports, and mining.

Lisbon, Portugal

Portugal: at a glance

Economic growth

4.9%

Actual figure (IMF, 2021)
The UK is 7.4% (IMF, 2021, projected figure)

GDP per capita

$24,264

Actual figure (IMF, 2021)
The UK is $47,203 (IMF, 2021, projected figure)

Currency

Euro

Business language

Portuguese, English

Time zone

GMT +0

(Portugal, Madeira)

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Opportunities for exporters

There are opportunities for UK companies across a broad range of industries. Our trade advisers in Portugal have identified particular opportunities for UK businesses in the following sectors:

Check for trade barriers

Trade barriers, such as tariffs or taxes, can raise costs, cause delays, or even stop you from exporting. Check for any issues that may impact your business when exporting.

See current trade barriers

See resolved trade barriers

Check duties and customs

Find information on how to export goods from the UK. View the duties, rules, restrictions, and the documents you need for your products.

See current duties and customs procedures

Doing business in Portugal

Preparing to export

Tax

The Portuguese Ministry of Finance (website is in Portuguese) provides information on the Portuguese tax system and the conventions for the avoidance of double taxation.

The statutory corporate income tax rate for Portugal is 25%. The effective corporate tax rate is 29.5% to 31.5%.

VAT

VAT is known as IVA in Portugal and the standard rate is currently 23%. Rates of 6% and 13% can also apply.

The VAT rate for goods imported into Madeira and the Azores are 22% and 16% respectively.

The Portuguese VAT Division provides further information on VAT payments.

Standards and regulations

Products and packaging should meet EU standards.

The Food and Economic Security Authority (website is in Portuguese) is the authority specialised in securing food safety and for conducting inspections.

When exporting to Portugal, you must provide all transport documents, commercial invoices, and certificates of compliance relating to quality and sanitary measures.

Services regulations

Information on rules for selling services and business travel to Portugal is available on gov.uk.

Trade barriers

Check for any reported barriers to trading with Portugal.

Report any trade barriers that are affecting your business so we can help fix them.

Operating in Portugal

Intellectual property

Intellectual property (IP) rights are territorial and rights granted in the UK do not provide protection elsewhere. You should consider getting IP protection abroad if you want to trade overseas or sell to overseas customers via the internet.

The Intellectual Property Office provides practical information to help you protect, manage and enforce your IP abroad. Further support for British businesses can be found through a network of IP attachés, based in key UK export markets.

Payment terms

Payment terms are usually 30, 60 and 90 days. Large corporations, including large retailers, usually negotiate or impose longer payment terms that can last up to six months.

Considerations

Trial periods of between 6 months and 1 year are recommended before signing lengthy agency contracts. Despite recent reforms, the legal system is still complex and slow.

Next steps

DIT can advise you on doing business abroad, and help put you in touch with other people who can help such as lawyers and distributors.