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Two seemingly different meanings attached to the one word in English, and those two same meanings attached to the equivalent word in Portuguese. This kind of thing is so interesting!
Seems like import (to carry in) came first, followed by important (to carry significance) shortly afterwards.
Well... It's from latin. I think in-porta in=in porta=carry. Something important CARRIES the thing that is dependent on it (like takes it with it, moves it forward) - and when you import something you CARRY it into your country (move it). It's like the same meaning but one is literal and the other is more metaphorical.
That feels weird in Portuguese. If you use the verb "importar" with an article (eu importo, você/ele importa, etc.) it generally means "to import". When it means "to matter" it comes normally with a demonstrative pronoun ("isso importa") or with no article at all ("não importa"). For all the other cases we prefer "é importante".