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In 2011, Portugal was hit by a severe economic crisis and the government needed an international bailout of $103 billion for austerity measures. The effects of this crisis are still relevant to this day as the unemployment rate in Portugal just rose to 14.1%. Simply put, this has been the worst recession for the Portuguese economy in more than 40 years. Now an important question remains unanswered—as a nation and a workforce, how do you recover from this economic hardship?

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Following six long years of recession, which reduced Greece's economy by a quarter of its size and rose unemployment to 28%, Greece is finally expected to stabilize and begin its economic comeback in 2014. A poll of 35 economists and strategists suggested an expected growth rate of 0.3% for the Greek economy, while analysts at the International Monetary Fund and European Union proposed a slightly more optimistic 0.6% rate.

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Today’s traveler is different than it once was. People are interested in finding unique and adventurous destinations rather than the typical beach vacation. This is great news for smaller countries rich with cultural and historical attractions. People want to be taken off the beaten path, and local businesses around the world are profiting.

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Portugal may be known to many for port wine and perhaps even fado music, but there are far more opportunities in the Portuguese market than people may realize. And realizing this is something that can prove very valuable to businesses looking to export to other areas of the world, especially for the United States. Portugal is not only a member of the European Union, but it has very strong ties to the U.S., meaning many American companies who have set up operations there have access to the EU market, giving it a huge advantage.

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Portugal is a good market for U.S. exports and it's comparatively easy to do business with. Surprisingly, building relationships there can lead to sales in other parts of Europe and also in Brazil, a former colony and one of the fastest growing markets in the world. Listen to this podcast featuring U.S. Commercial Service Senior Commercial Officer Dillon Banerjee from the embassy in Lisbon.