The Portuguese economy has become increasingly international over recent decades, with a sharp acceleration of this process in recent years.
Faced with a foreign framework characterised by inter-dependent economies and globalised markets and competition, internationalisation is inevitable, and companies are forced to adopt strategies that ensure both their competitiveness in a wider market and gains in the product value chain. Exporting is a way of reducing SMEs’ dependency on domestic markets, which strengthens their competitiveness and leverages their long-term sustainability. The sale of products and services outside the national geography entails additional risks compared to the domestic market, as it involves cross border economic activity. This required companies to know the different stages of this process and the challenges it raises. The growth of world trade is an opportunity for the continuous increase of Portuguese exports, which are decisive for the economic growth of the country.
Internationalisation has been a strategic goal for Portugal, long-pursued by the MFA [Minister for Foreign Affairs] and conceptualised approximately two decades ago in the term Economic Diplomacy. Through the foreign network run by MFA and AICEP Portugal, always in coordination, Portugal pursues an active strategy of internationalisation, supporting national companies abroad and fostering foreign investment in Portugal. This is achieved through a variety of means, such as economic, commercial, and tax agreements and conventions, or the promotion of the country's image and products abroad, or even the creation of networks that can protect our interests. In this field, special highlight should be given to the role of Portuguese Communities in the promotion of bonds of trust and commercial relations between Portugal and their countries of residence, as well as in investments in Portugal. The presence and weight of the Portuguese language across all continents is also an element that brings cultures closer, contributing for internationalisation and for the integration of Portuguese-speaking economies, which must be promoted and encouraged.
In terms of national public policies, particular emphasis should also be given to the initiatives developed by AICEP Portugal Global, E.P.E., which promotes the internationalisation of Portuguese companies and their exporting activity, including, but not limited to, through individual meetings with AICEP delegates, which offer companies customised advisory, information and advice on the business environment, information sessions, workshops with experts and also through the organisation and promotion of participation in international trade fairs.