Print version

Portugal’s Challenging Relationship with China under Tense US/EU-China Relations


Portugal has a longstanding relationship with China and has benefited from the economic opportunities arising from closer economic ties with Beijing, especially in the wake of the 2011 international bailout and external assistance programme. Lisbon wants to do as much business with China as possible. On the other hand, the United States (US) is Portugal’s most important ally. Thus, Lisbon has found itself caught between conflicting great-power interests. Amid rising US-China tensions, Lisbon has become a battlefield for both states’ geostrategic political ploys. Portugal needs to navigate complex partnerships as the European Union (EU) lacks a consistent foreign and security policy towards China. Lisbon needs to strike a balance between the unfailing commitment to the US and loyalty to the EU on the one hand, and the economic relationship with Beijing on the other.
Keywords: Portugal; China; Chinese investment; United States; European Union