The international trade situation in Spain
La situación del comercio exterior en España

Spain is one of the most open economies in the European Union and plays an important role in international trade, with exports accounting for more than a third of its GDP. The country is known to be a major exporter of high quality products such as wines, fruit and vegetables, chemicals, manufactured goods and transport equipment. In this article, you will find more details about Spain’s current foreign trade.

The main sectors of the Spanish foreign economy

According to ICEX data, the key sector of automobiles accounted for 16.6% of total Spanish exports in 2021, followed by agri-food products (14.3%), chemicals (14.2%), machinery and equipment (7.4%) and pharmaceutical products (6.4%).

The key sector of the automotive industry is an important pillar of the Spanish economy and represents a significant share of its exports. The automotive industry accounted for 16.6% of total Spanish exports in 2021.

According to the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, the agri-food sector is growing, which also demonstrates its importance in the economy. Exports of agri-food products reached a record 54 billion euros in 2021, a 5.5% increase on the previous year.

Trading partners around the world

Spain’s economic growth is heavily dependent on international trade and the country has continued to strengthen its trade relations with partners around the world in recent years.

In particular, Spain has a strong commercial presence in Latin America and North Africa, as well as a strategic geographical position as a bridge between Europe and Africa.

As regards its partners, the European Union, the United States and China are the most important. In fact, according to Bank of Spain data for the year 2021, Spain’s main trading partners in terms of exports are:

1. France: 16.9%
2. Germany: 11.3%
3. Italy: 8.6%
4. United Kingdom: 6.9%
5. United States: 4.6%
6. Portugal: 4.5%
7. China: 3.9%
8. The Netherlands: 3.7%
9. Belgium: 3.0%
10. Turkey: 2.9%

What should we remember for the country’s future exports?

  • Diversification of exports

Spain has traditionally been an exporter of manufactured goods, such as machinery, chemicals, automobiles and food products. However, it is seeking to diversify its exports to reduce its dependence on traditional European markets and sectors. To this end, Spain is developing new sectors such as renewable energies, creative industries and biotechnology, while seeking to strengthen its trade relations with countries outside the EU, particularly Latin America and Asia. In fact, Spanish exports to Asia increased by 9.4% in 2020 according to ICEX data.

  • Increasing productivity

To improve the competitiveness of its exports, Spain must invest in research, development and innovation, as well as in the training and qualification of its workforce.

  • Digitisation of exports

The pandemic has highlighted the importance of digitisation for international trade, especially for trade in services. Spain has therefore launched several initiatives to support the digitisation of its exports, including improving SMEs’ access to digital platforms and offering consultancy and training services to help companies understand the benefits of digitisation.

We hope you have enjoyed the article “The international trade situation in Spain”.

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