Spain is 14th largest economy by nominal GDP in the world, and it is also among the largest in the world by Purchasing Power Parity (PPP). The country is a member of the European Union (EU), the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the World Trade Organization (WTO). The Spanish economy is 4th largest in Europe behind Germany, England and France; and the 4th largest in the Euro zone, based on nominal GDP statistics. In 2012, Spain was 12th largest exporter in the world and 16th largest importer. Spain is listed 23rd in UN Human Development Index and 30th in GDP per capita by the World Bank, thus it is classified as a high income economy and among the countries of very high human development. Spain has the world’s 10th highest quality of life. Spain has also the biggest life expectancy in Europe.
The high dynamism and advanced technology and investment in Research and Development of Spanish companies has placed Spain in position of absolute leadership, with global footprints of companies with irrefutable prestige. According to the latest Global Competitiveness Report of the World Economic Forum in Davos for the 2015-2016 biennium, Spain ranks 6th worldwide in transport infrastructure, followed by Japan and ahead of France, Germany and the United States. Spanish construction and engineering companies are world leaders in the sector, participating in the most important projects in the world to build roads, railways, airports and ports. To their experience, these companies combine the development of their own technology, high tech capacity, superb management and enormous diversification with presence in more than 80 countries of 5 continents. Thus, the important contracts awarded in recent years, including the AVE Mecca-Medina, the expansion of the Panama Canal, the Riyadh subway or the Lima subway to name just a few, are added important awards in 2016. Thus, and as an example, Ferrovial has been awarded the modernization and commercial project of Denver airport, the largest in the United States; ACS has been awarded a pipeline laying project in Saudi Arabia for $100 million and a tunnel of 2.2 kilometers in Hong Kong for $1 billion; Sacyr is awarded the construction and concession of the 186 KM long Rome – Latina Expressway, with an investment of $2.8 billion; Ferrovial and Acciona shall build a bridge on Australia’s Pacific Highway for 172 million Euro. Spanish engineering construction companies have accepted the challenge of environmental concerns by applying technologies to achieve the minimum impact, conserve biodiversity and achieve energy savings and CO2 emissions. Companies such as ABERTIS, ABENGOA, ACCIONA, ACS, FCC, FERROVIAL, ISOLUX-CORSAN, OHL, SACYR, TECNICAS REUNIDAS and others are world leaders in this sector.
The significant investments made in the last 25 years to improve the Spanish railway system have made Spain a global reference in the design, construction, maintenance, signaling and management of new high-speed lines. The dynamism of this sector has allowed Spanish companies to be presented round the globe and to build the second largest network of high speed in the world and the first in Europe. It also has one of the most modern and technologically advanced train fleets in the world. This makes many countries visit Spain to know the rail system and the Spanish high speed model. In addition, the consolidation of consortia between Spanish companies for the development of High Speed has brought great success. Companies like RENFE, ADIF, CAF, INECO, TALGO, COPASA or INDRA, among others, are market leaders.
Spain has an increasingly internationalized business sector undergoing expansion that is highly diversified in terms of the products and services offered and their presence in various sectors and geographic markets. Foreign trade – specifically the export of goods and services – is a substantial part of the turnover of Spanish companies. So much so, that in the last recession sales abroad served as a lifeline for thousands of businesses that found internationalization to be a means to overcoming the drop in domestic consumption and to saving jobs and their business activity.
The “2014 Profile of the exporting company 2014“ report compiled by the Institute for Foreign Trade (ICEX) found that in 2013 the number of exporting firms continued to rise for the fifth year in a row, reaching 151,160, 10% more than the 137,528 at year-end 2012. In 2009 – the year of the worst recession in the GDP of the Spanish economy – Spain had only 107,579 exporting companies. The increase in turnover figures has kept pace with the number of firms. The performance of Spanish exports in recent years has been extraordinary. In fact, in 2015, they set a new record. Exports of goods rose by 4.3% during the first eleven months of 2015, a figure that is 2.1 points higher than that for the same period in 2014, reaching 230.09 billions of Euros. This represents a new annual high for the January-November period since the start of the historical series in 1971. The new export data is also higher than that of other economic powers such as France (4%), Italy (3.8%), the United Kingdom (-2-6%) and the United States (-6.8%).
Although, in general, exports evolved positively in all sectors, it is important to highlight the growth in foreign sales in the automotive and associated components sector, in that of fruit, vegetables and pulses, and in textiles. By geographical areas, exports to our EU partners grew by 6.4% compared to the same period in 2014. Where exports to other countries are concerned, it is important to highlight the growth of exports to markets with great potential such as the USA (8.6%), China (8.4%), Mexico (22.6%), Chile (25.9%), Saudi Arabia (37.3%) and Australia (18.9%).