Following Portugal’s accession to the EU in 1986, the country has seen almost continuous economic growth. Portugal has also gained a more complex and more service-oriented economy after joining the EU.
Since the mid-1990s, the authorities have intensified the process of privatizing state-owned companies. Portugal adopted the euro currency unit in 2002 at the same time as 11 other EU countries. Portugal has received relatively large sums from the EU’s Structural Funds.
Over 30% of the total area is used for agricultural purposes. Most of the agricultural land is arable land, but large areas are used for grazing or fruit trees, vines and olive production. The northern part of the country has small, intensively operated family farms, which are often less than 50 acres. In the south (apart from the Algarve), it is common to use over 1000 acres, which is partly operated extensively.
Following the implementation of the land reforms 1974-75 and illegal occupations, many of the large estates, especially in Alentejo, were taken over by the farmers and organized as agricultural cooperatives. Through the EU, agriculture has been modernized through privatization and more rational operation.
Most of the arable land is used for grain cultivation. In drier regions wheat is grown, in humid regions of corn. Rice cultivation is expanding on the coastal plains, especially in Ribatejo and Estremadura. Rye, oats and barley, potatoes, tomatoes, beans and vegetables are also grown. Portugal is one of the world’s largest producers of olive oil. Winegrowing is important everywhere, but especially in the Douro area, where the port wine is produced. Figs, oranges, lemons, almonds, chestnuts and fruits are grown.
Perennial fallowing provides grazing for cattle and other livestock. Animal husbandry is particularly important in the dry, eastern mountainous regions. Sheep and goat herds, cattle and pig breeding are of regional importance.
Production of important growth 2005
|potatoes||1 250 000|
|Tomatoes||1 175 000|
|grapes||1 000 000|
|sugar beet||485 000|
About. 36% of the area is covered with pine, cork oak, other oak, eucalyptus and wood species. About half of the world’s cork is produced in the cork oak forests in the southwest. Most are exported in the raw state. Resin and turpentine are other export products. Eucalyptus plantations provide raw material for the wood processing industry.
Fishing is important for food supply, and fish consumption exceeds the other EU countries. Coastal fishing, and especially sardine fishing, are the most important. The main fishing ports are Setúbal, Matosinhos, Portimão and Olhão.
Portugal has relatively modest mineral resources, and mining is limited. Most important is the production of copper-containing sulfur coffin and tungsten. Furthermore, smaller quantities of coal, iron ore, manganese, tin and copper are extracted. Hydropower accounts for about half of the electricity, especially from Douro’s rainfall. However, the country relies heavily on imported oil to meet its energy needs.
Most important is the textile and clothing industry, especially the cotton goods industry, which has accumulated considerable exports. Significant fishery and processing industries are also significant. Lisbon and Porto are Portugal’s most important industrial centers. At the Tejo estuary just south of Lisbon, a significant heavy industry has been built from the 1960s, including iron and steel plants, oil refineries, chemical factories and shipyards.
The tourism industry plays a significant role in the country’s foreign economy. In 2003, approx. 12 million tourists Portugal. The main tourist destinations are the Algarve coast in the south, the Portuguese “Sun Coast” west of the capital Lisbon and the Atlantic island of Madeira.
Portugal is the world’s leading producer of cork, sardines and port wines, but its export value is overshadowed by textiles and clothing, shoes, machines, chemicals and wood pulp. Portugal imports finished goods, especially machinery and machinery. The country must also import oil, coal and other industrial raw materials. According to Countryaah, Portugal has been a member of the EU since 1986, and Spain, France and Germany account for most of Portugal’s foreign trade.
Foreign trade as a percentage by country 2003
Exports by percentage by main product groups 2003
|Textiles and clothing||6.2|
|Machines and transport equipment||36.4|
|including vehicles and parts||46.5|
|Cork and wood products||10.0|
Imports by percentage by main product groups 2003
|Foods and live animals||12.7|
|Machines and transport equipment||34.1|
|including vehicles and parts||39.3|
|Minerals and metals||9.4|
Transport and Communications
The main axis of Portugal’s transport network runs north-south from Porto via Coimbra to Lisbon. The East-West links are less important. A large part of relations with foreign countries go by boat or plane. Lisbon is the most important port city and has a strategic location for shipping traffic between Europe and Africa, South America and East Asia. Leixões (Porto), Setúbal and Funchal in Madeira are other important port cities. International airports can be found at Lisbon, Porto, Faro (Algarve), Funchal (Madeira) and Santa Maria (Azores).