The 50th Session of the U.S.-Portugal Standing Bilateral Commission (SBC) met December 5 in Angra do Heroísmo, Azores to discuss cooperation on key bilateral priorities such as transatlantic security, economic, education, and science and technology issues, and to reiterate our nations’ longstanding friendship.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Jacqueline Ramos led the U.S. delegation, accompanied by Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Tressa Guenov and U.S. Ambassador to Portugal Randi Charno Levine, among others, in the highest-level SBC delegation in recent memory. During the SBC, the two countries celebrated the strategic importance and historic relevance of the Azores and the Atlantic for the U.S.-Portugal-bilateral relationship.
“The Azores holds a special place in our diplomatic ties as home of the oldest, continuously operating U.S. Consulate in the world,” said Ambassador Levine. “It was only fitting that the 50th Commission would be hosted in this region, which is emblematic of the strong ties between Portugal and the United States.”
The delegations underscored their resolve to deepen bilateral economic ties and investments on energy, climate, health, and digital transitions, and to seize opportunities on a sustainable blue economy supported by oceanic research and new technologies. These objectives were recently enhanced by a joint trade delegation of energy companies led by Ambassador Levine to Washington and New York in October.
Throughout the SBC, the two countries highlighted shared priorities in education, science, and technology. The group also visited TERINOV and agreed to further discuss options to advance joint scientific cooperation and research.
The SBC commended the close collaboration between U.S. and Portuguese armed forces that enables search and rescue missions from Lajes Field. Since its inception in 1978, Portugal’s Squadron 751 rescued over 4,300 lives and logged over 64,000 flight hours. Earlier this year, the U.S. military conducted a rare and historic B-2 Spirit bomber exercise at Lajes Field.
The SBC noted the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) investment of over 23 million dollars in Lajes Field infrastructure and services during Fiscal Year 2023, the largest expenditure since 2006. These investments support the local economy and demonstrate DoD’s longstanding commitment to the Azores, to the U.S.-Portugal bilateral defense relationship, and to transatlantic security.