Exporting guide to Portugal

Portugal is located in the western part of the Iberian Peninsula. Bilateral trade is strong, anchored on the world’s oldest bilateral alliance and strong links through diaspora communities and tourism. The UK is Portugal’s fourth biggest export market, and in the year to December 2019 total UK exports to Portugal amounted to £3.2 billion (ONS, 2020).

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

Ease of doing business

39th

out of 190 countries (World Bank, 2019)

Currency

Euro

Business language

Portuguese, English

GDP per capita

$23,186

UK is $42,558 (IMF, 2018)

Economic growth

2.2%

(IMF, 2019)

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:

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.

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

As a first step, we advise you to speak to an intellectual property lawyer if you think you need patent protection when exporting.

IP law, especially for patent protection, is not totally harmonised within the EU.

If you wish to protect your intellectual property in Portugal, you have to do it through Portuguese Institute of Industrial Property (INPI).

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.