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U.S.-Portugal Bilateral Issues
The United States and Portugal have enjoyed close and friendly relations for two centuries, and Portugal was the first neutral country to recognize the United States following the Revolutionary War. Portugal is a founding member of NATO and remains a staunch supporter of transatlantic ties. The current bilateral relationship is codified in the 1995 "Agreement on Cooperation and Defense." This agreement provides for access to Lajes Air Base in the Azores and lays out areas for bilateral cooperation, including the provision of excess defense articles to the Portuguese military, and cooperation in the fields of science and technology. The Portuguese government has decided to extend the agreement to the end of 2001. U.S. foreign direct investment in Portugal was $224 million in 1998, nearly a quarter of all such investment.
The United States and Portugal have cooperated in a number of international military, peacekeeping and humanitarian operations, including in East Timor. Portugal participated with its NATO allies in the Kosovo campaign, and continues to participate in peacekeeping efforts in the Balkans. Portugal and the United States led the international humanitarian response to the devastating floods in Mozambique and the Portuguese have conducted evacuations of citizens alongside American forces in Angola, Guinea-Bissau, and Congo Kinshasa.
Science and Technology Cooperation
The science and technology cooperation between the United States and Portugal includes extensive research collaboration in infectious diseases, ocean and atmospheric sciences, and archeology, as well as cooperative work to help train the next generation of scientists.
Open Skies Agreement
Portugal and the United States today signed an Open Skies agreement that will open the way for increased business and tourist travel at lower cost between the two countries. The United States has signed similar agreements with 46 other countries with the most significant commercial impact of these agreements being in Europe. Alliances between U.S. and European airlines, which the Open Skies agreements have made possible, have been responsible for a boom in traffic, lower prices, and greater choices for consumers. Portugal will be the tenth European Union member to sign an Open Skies Agreement with the United States.
The Open Skies Agreement with Portugal will open the way for increased business and tourist travel at lower cost between Portugal and the United States by removing restrictions on flight frequency, destinations, seat capacity and pricing. The Agreement will also provide travelers more flight choices and simpler, lower cost ticketing by permitting code sharing and other cooperation between airlines. New flight routes to and from the United States under consideration by U.S. carriers include Lisbon via Madrid and Lisbon via Amsterdam.
Child Support Agreement
The United States and Portugal today signed a bilateral maintenance payment agreement that will help Americans recover alimony and child support owed to them by ex-spouses who are in Portugal. Conversely Portuguese parents will be able to file for support owed to them by ex-spouses living in the United States. Portugal is the first country in Europe to have a bilateral agreement on maintenance with the United States. Under the agreement, a parent in the United States can file an application to recover delinquent maintenance payments from a former spouse resident in Portugal. Applications are filed through the U.S. Central Authority at the Department of Health and Human Services. HHS forwards the application to the Portuguese Central Authority to locate the parent and recover support payments.
U.S.-Portugal Agreement on Deportations
The United States and Portugal have agreed to a protocol to smooth removal procedures for deportees from both countries. Since the implementation of the United States' 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, the Portuguese government had raised concerns about the arrival and resettlement of increasing numbers of deportees of Portuguese citizens who had committed crimes in the United States. Many of the deportees were born in the Azores and after being deported from the United States chose to return to the Azores rather than to "mainland" Portugal. The transfer of several hundred deportees from the United States over the last few years to the small, isolated islands, where violent crime is almost non-existent, has met with some objections from Azores' residents. The protocol agreed to today includes more timely notification by U.S. authorities on the deportation of Portuguese citizens who have committed crimes in the United States.
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