Investment Opportunities in Portugal

Overview by

Protection of Foreign Investment

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.
International Controversies Registered By UNCTAD
No cases
Organizations Offering Their Assistance in Case of Disagreement
ICSID , International Center for settlement of Investment Disputes
ICCWBO , International court of arbitration, International chamber of commerce
Member of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency
Yes, since 1988.

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 5.2 9.0 5.0
Index of Shareholders’ Power*** 7.0 6.8 9.0 5.0
Index of Investor Protection**** 6.0 6.0 8.3 5.0

Source: Doing Business

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.

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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
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.
Find Investment Service Providers in Portugal on

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Office Real Estate and Land Ownership

Possible Temporary Solutions
There are several temporary solutions: domiciliation of the company at the private address of the director, domiciliation in a business center, lodging in relay-workshops, company incubators and renting professional premises.
The Possibility of Buying Land and Industrial and Commercial Buildings
Foreign investors can become the owners of land which is necessary for their setting up. It is possible to buy freehold or leasehold, to build industrial and commercial premises or to buy through a real estate company.
Risk of Expropriation
According to Portuguese law, foreign investors are entitled to compensation if they are victims of expropriation.

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Investment Aid

Forms of Aid
A foreign company setting up in Portugal is more and more likely to benefit from subsidies, facilitation of formalities for creating a company, financial incentives such as partial financing of a project (from 15 to 50% of the amount of the investment for a tourist project), and regional incentives.

For further information, consult the Institute for support for SMEs website (IAPMEI) and the Portuguese Institute for Trade, Tourism and Investment website ICEP.

Privileged Domains
Fishing, agriculture, renewable energies, tourism and electronics.
Privileged Geographical Zones
The National Strategic Tourism Plan advances regions for tourist development and some sub-sectors.
There are no privileged zones for foreign investment.
For important dossiers (more than 25 million euros) the numbers of jobs created (fundamental), the added value of the goods, the contribution of technological innovation and the export possibilities of the goods will all be analyzed before aid is granted.

For further information on regional aid, consult the European Union website.
Free Zones
One of the institutions which is part of AICEP (the Portuguese Agency for Investment and Foreign Trade) is AICEP PARQUES which owns areas for setting up companies and industrial estates. They are located in areas which are economically disadvantaged (and in which apply the fiscal and social measures in favor of companies with the aim of stimulating employment) but which are strategically placed from a geographical point of view for easy access to road, rail and sea transport.
Organizations Which Finance
The EU through the ERDF.
The institution created by the government is a venture capital company: Capital Global.

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Investment Opportunities

The Key Sectors of the National Economy
The Agency for Investment in Portugal (API) regularly publishes investment opportunities on its Internet site. Potential for tourist investment in the Douro Valley or in the Alentejo region, agrifood projects in the Alentejo region (biofuels, olive oil, fruit, flowers, etc.) or forest investment projects all over the country.



The automobile sector has attracted many investors. The chemical industry benefits from wide experience especially in sectors from extraction to petrochemical refining as well as manufacturing products from the most basic to solutions with high added value. The electric and electronic sectors also provide many opportunities; they have recently undergone considerable transformation with the setting up of several foreign groups. With more than 7 600 companies in ICT, the Portuguese information and communication technologies market has shown itself capable of rapid adaptation to and effective assimilation of new inventions. Biological industries bring together several international projects in domains such as pharmacy, biotechnologies (especially with renowned Portuguese universities) and R&D.

Portugal offers specific advantages for setting up call centers. The country has a qualified workforce, which speaks several languages and is competitive, associated with modern telecommunication networks and real estate offers which are easily accessible and inexpensive. Finally, in the tourist sector, Portugal aims to provide high quality products and services.

High Potential Sectors
The sectors which have been officially designated as the most desirable are:
- biotechnologies (to create synergies with the American MIT project in Portugal);
- shared service centers (call centers and other associated infrastructures);
- the electric and electronic sectors (a big gamble on alternative energies);
- high value added chemistry (eg. polymers, etc.);
- the NICT (new information and communication technologies);
- high level tourism.
Privatization Programs
Air transport (national airline company and airports), the postal service (Correios).
Tenders, Projects and Public Procurement
Tenders Info, Tenders in Portugal
Ted - Tenders Electronic daily, Business opportunities in EU 27
DgMarket, Tenders Worldwide

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Sectors Where Investment Opportunities Are Fewer

Monopolistic Sectors
No monopolistic sectors.
Sectors in Decline
Traditional agriculture, faience, some textiles and furniture.

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Finding Assistance For Further Information

Investment Aid Agency
Institute for support for SMEs and investment (IAPMEI)
Other Useful Resources
Portuguese Tourist Institute
Doing Business Guides
Guide for Investors
Portugal Commercial Guide 2010 - Buy USA

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