Portugal–United States relations


Portugal–United States relations

Portugal-United States relations are bilateral relations between Portugal and the United States.

History

Bilateral ties date from the earliest years of the United States. Following the Revolutionary War, Portugal was the first neutral country to recognize the United States. On February 21, 1791, President George Washington opened formal diplomatic relations, naming Col. David Humphreys as U.S. minister.

Contributing to the strong ties between the United States and Portugal are the sizable Portuguese communities in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, California, and Hawaii. The latest census estimates that 1.3 million individuals living in the United States are of Portuguese ancestry, with a large percentage coming from the Azores. There are about 20,000 Americans living in Portugal.

The defense relationship between the United States and Portugal is excellent, centered on the 1995 Agreement on Cooperation and Defense (ACD). For 50 years, Lajes Air Base in the Azores has played an important role in supporting U.S. military aircraft. Most recent missions are engaged in counter-terrorism and humanitarian efforts, including operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Portugal also provides the United States access to Montijo Air Base and a number of ports.

Portugal defines itself as "Atlanticist," emphasizing its support for strong European ties with the United States, particularly on defense and security issues. The Portuguese Government has been a key ally in U.S.-led efforts in Iraq, and hosted the Azores Summit that preceded military action. Portugal sees its role as host of NATO's "Joint Command Lisbon" (formerly the Regional Headquarters, Southern Atlantic - RHQ SOUTHLANT), located near Lisbon, as an important sign of alliance interest in transatlantic security issues.

U.S.-Portuguese trade is relatively small, with the United States exporting $1.47 billion worth of goods in 2006 and importing an estimated $3.04 billion. While total Portuguese trade has increased dramatically over the last 10 years, the U.S. percentage of Portugal's exports and imports has declined. The Portuguese Government is seeking to increase exports of textiles and footwear to the United States and is encouraging greater bilateral investment. U.S. firms play significant roles in the pharmaceutical, computer, and retail sectors in Portugal, but their involvement in the automotive sector has declined in recent years.

Principal U.S. Officials include:
* Ambassador--Thomas F. Stephenson
* Deputy Chief of Mission--David Ballard
* Political/Economic Affairs--Matthew Harrington
* Consular Affairs--Eugene Sweeney
* Management Affairs--Jesse Coronado
* Public Affairs--Wes Carrington
* Regional Security Officer--Thomas Haycraft
* Commercial Affairs-- Dillon Banerjee
* Defense Attache--COL Richard Villalobos
* Office of Defense Cooperation--CDR Ted Bradfield
* Consul, Ponta Delgada--Jean Manes

The U.S. maintains an embassy in Lisbon, Portugal. There is also a consulate in Ponta Delgada, Azores. The consular agent in Funchal, Madeira is Edgar Potter.

References

StateDept [http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/3208.htm]


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