Australian Commonwealth Coat of Arms

10 February 2009

Visit to Australia by Republic of Portugal Foreign Minister Luís Amado

The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Portugal, His Excellency Mr Luís Amado, will visit Australia from Tuesday 10 February to Wednesday 11 February.

This is the first visit by a Portuguese Foreign Minister since 2002, and the first by a Minister in the Government of Prime Minister José Sócrates since its election in February 2005.

Mr Amado's visit will commence in Canberra on Tuesday 10 February, where he and I will hold bilateral discussions.

Mr Amado's visit will be an important opportunity to work towards deepening the already longstanding and close relationship between Australia and Portugal.

Australia and Portugal enjoy a strong and productive partnership based on shared values and interests. We cooperate on a range on issues of importance to the region, particularly the security and development of East Timor.

We have a small but solid trading relationship, with two-way trade of over $200 million in 2007-08. Australia's number one export to Portugal is aluminum ($9 million in 2007-08). Portugal's principal exports to Australia in 2007-08 were passenger motor vehicles ($73 million) and cork ($36 million).

Our relationship is also underpinned by strong people-to-people links. Portuguese migrants from the islands of Madeira settled in Fremantle in Western Australia in the 1950s and established a fishing community which, by the mid-1980s, had grown to about 6,000 people, including their descendants.

The Portuguese community in Australia is now estimated at around 15,000 people. There were nearly 600 enrolments by Portuguese nationals in Australian educational institutions in 2007, up from just over 500 in 2006.

Minister Amado and I will also hold a trilateral meeting with East Timorese Foreign Minister Zacarias Da Costa later in the day.

Media inquiries: Mr Smith's office 02 6277 7500 - Departmental Media Liaison 02 6261 1555