Country profile: doing business in Spain

Sergio Burns
- Leadership - Oct 10, 2016

Spain lost nearly 100,000 people in 2015 and started 2016 with a population of 46,524,943. The capital is Madrid and the country has an area of 505,400 kilometres square.

The Spanish economy was particularly badly hit by the global economic crisis of 2008. After a decade and a half of steady growth the country's economy began to slow in 2007. In the second quarter of 2008 Spain slid into recession as its construction and real estate industries collapsed. Unemployment grew rapidly from around eight percent in 2008 to just under 26 percent four years later in 2012. In the subsequent four years the unemployment rate has fallen to 19.6 percent (July 2016).

To shore up its banking system after the collapse of 2008, Spain borrowed £100 billion (€116 billion $130 billion) of European funds.

Spanish economy

Tourism is the nation's main source of income, and Spain has the second biggest tourist industry in the world by spending. The country's services industry accounts for 71 percent of Spain's labour force.

The Spanish agricultural sector which accounts for 4.2 percent of the country's workers, produces grain, vegetables, olives, wine grapes, citrus, beef, pork, poultry, dairy products and fish.

Spain also produces footwear, food and beverages, metal manufactures, chemicals, shipbuilding, automobiles, textiles, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment.

The nation's major car maker is SEAT, a subsidiary of the German Volkswagon group. SEAT, in turn, is headquartered at Martorell, near Barcelona.

Spain is the world's biggest producer of olive oil and third biggest wine producer. Major wine producing regions include Rioja, Malaga and Jerez de la Frontera. It is also Europe's biggest producer of lemons, oranges and strawberries.

Spain, within Europe, exports over 17 percent of its produce to France, its biggest trading partner.

Spain’s energy sector

Spain is a major player in the renewables field. The country built a massive solar power energy station in 2010 at Alvarado(Badajoz), Extramadura. Known as La Florida, and owned by Renovables Samca A Concentrated Solar Power (CSP), the plant created 350 jobs during construction and now employs 50 to maintain and operate the facility.

Spanish Stock Exchange

The Spanish stock exchange is known as the BME, operated by Bolsas Y Mercados. The country's five largest companies are Banco Santander, Telefonica, Repsol, Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria and Iberdrola.

Business travel in Spain

Major airports include Aldolfo Suarez Madrid Barajas, Barcelona-El Prat, Palma De Mallorca, Malaga-Costa Del Sol. Spain has a well connected rail system and high speed train service (Alta Velocidad Espana, AVE), while Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao and Valencia all have underground ( metro) rail systems.

Read the October 2016 issue of Business Review Europe magazine. 

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