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Secretary Pompeo Travels to Portugal to Discuss Transatlantic Partnership with Key Ally

Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo will travel to Portugal December 4-5 to meet with Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa and Minister of State and Minister of Foreign Affairs Augusto Santos Silva.  The Secretary will discuss the importance of Transatlantic unity and our strong bilateral relationship and the economic and security ties that form the basis of our enduring partnership with Portugal.

THE UNITED STATES AND PORTUGAL ARE LONG-STANDING ALLIES AND FRIENDS

  • The shared history, ideals, and democratic values between the United States and Portugal provide the foundation for our friendship and Transatlantic NATO Alliance.  We enjoy remarkably close historical and cultural ties; more than 1.4 million Americans trace their roots back to Portugal.  Consulate Ponta Delgada in the Azores is the oldest continuously operating U.S. Consulate in the world.
  • Together, our two countries share a commitment to the protection of democracy and freedom, respect for human dignity, free markets and the defense of free and fair trade, and the rule of law.  We work together to uphold these Western values against regimes that threaten them.  Portugal was among the first EU countries to recognize the legitimacy of Interim President Juan Guaido and has shown unequivocal support for the democratic aspirations of the Venezuelan people.
  • Our two governments cooperate across a range of issues.  In solidarity with communities affected by the wildfires in Portugal, the U.S. Embassy in Lisbon recently held a community volunteer event to establish the first U.S.-Portugal Friendship Forest in the area of Leiria.  The U.S. Embassy also signed a first-ever Sister National Park agreement between North Cascades National Park and the Peneda-Geres National Park in October 2019.

OUR SECURITY PARTNERSHIP UNDERPINS OUR CLOSE COOPERATION

  • The United States and Portugal are not only founding members of the NATO Alliance but also partners in fighting terrorism. Portugal is a contributor to many peacekeeping operations under the auspices of both the United Nations and NATO, with forces deployed in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, the Baltics, and throughout the Mediterranean.
  • Portugal provides valuable contributions to our collective defense and to global security through NATO, and has hosted various NATO units since the 1970s. Portugal has been home to the Joint Analysis and Lessons Learned Centre (JALLC) at Monsanto since 2002; the U.S.-led NATO Maritime Headquarters (known as Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO – STRIKFORNATO) since 2012; and the NATO Communication and Information Academy (NCIA) since September 2019.
  • Our military relationship is strategic and enduring. Portugal hosts the U.S. Air Force’s 65th Air Base Group (ABG) at Lajes Field in the Azores, staffed by 160 U.S. Airmen and 400 Portuguese civilians.  The ABG serves as a key logistics hub and provides critical communication and weather services to U.S. and Allied forces.
  • Portugal’s technology sector is an important engine of the economy, making the stakes for safeguarding critical networks and intellectual property very high. This is particularly true for national security and data privacy concerns emerging from untrusted vendors in 5G networks.

TRADE, ENERGY, EDUCATION, AND TOURISM:  CLOSE ECONOMIC TIES BENEFIT OUR ECONOMIES AND WORKERS

  • U.S.-Portuguese economic ties are strong and growing. The United States is Portugal’s largest trading partner outside the European Union.  Bilateral trade in goods and services reached $8 billion in 2018, a nine percent increase from the previous year.
  • The United States values its relationship with Portugal across a diverse set of sectors. Portugal is an important destination for American energy exports to Europe, having received the first-ever shipment of U.S. LNG to Europe in 2016.  The deep-water Port of Sines receives as much as 20 percent of U.S. LNG exports to continental Europe.  In agriculture, American soybean exports to Portugal rose more than 300 percent from 2017 to 2018.
  • U.S. and Portuguese companies promote prosperity and create jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.  Companies such as Google, Cisco, and Oracle serve the European market and have taken advantage of Portugal’s talented English-speaking workforce.  Portuguese companies such as Feedzai, Outsystems, and Talk Desk now call the United States home.
  • Since 2011, Portugal’s Energias de Portugal (EDP) has partnered with U.S. firm Principle Power to pioneer the development of a floating off-shore wind farm off the coast of Portugal.
  • Ties between our peoples continue to expand. Americans are traveling to Portugal for tourism and education in ever-more significant numbers.  Last year, more than 1 million Americans visited Portugal, an increase of 144 percent since 2015.
  • In 2019, the United States and Portugal signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to create an exchange program permitting up to a year of structured and guided training for Portuguese students and trainees interested in learning about innovation, organizational growth, and development in the United States.  The MOU also created opportunities for U.S. students to pursue work and study in Portugal.

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