Obama Faces Portuguese Concerns Over Trade

On his most recent foreign trip, President Obama focused heavily on reciprocal trade and investment with countries like India and Indonesia, but as he meets Friday with Portuguese officials in Lisbon, he is facing an ally eager for more.

"[T]here has been an increase in our recent commercial trade, as well as an increase in the Portuguese investment in the United States. However, our exports to the U.S. are still far from what they could be, considering the quality and diversification of our products and the U.S. market I mentioned," Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva told reporters alongside President Obama.He went on, "Also, the volume of U.S. investments in Portugal is far from what one would expect."The President acknowledged there was more to do.

"[W]e discussed ways to expand our bilateral cooperation. On the economic front, we're looking to deepen our partnership in trade and investment, in science and technology." The president expressed an interest in working with the Portuguese on an area he has long said would generate U.S. jobs: clean energy.

Mr. Obama acknowledged that Portugal is facing financial woes and praised the country's efforts to combat them, saying that the force of the European Union would back Portugal's as it works to maintain stability.

After meeting with the president, Mr. Obama sat down with Prime Minister Jose Socrates, telling reporters afterwards, "[O]bviously Portugal is working through challenges created by some of the financial markets, and I think that it's important to note that the Prime Minister has committed himself to a very vigorous package of economic steps, and we are going to be working with all of Europe, as well as Portugal, in support of these efforts, and we want to say how much we appreciate some of the work that you are doing."