Economic Analytical Unit - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

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Doing business in Spain
An introductory guide to the market

Minister VaileForeword

Over the last 30 years Spain has undergone a dramatic change. The death of General Franco in 1975, followed by the accession of Spain to the European Community in 1986, led to the complete political, economic and social transformation of the country. From a relatively poor, agrarian country, Spain has made rapid economic advancement and is now a modern, fully industrialised country.

Economic reforms implemented by successive governments over the past decade have placed the Spanish economy on a strong structural footing. Over the past five years, the Spanish economy has been amongst the leading European economies. In its Preliminary Conclusions on the 2001 Article IV Consultation, the IMF rated Spain as Europe s most dynamic economy. In that same period, merchandise trade between Australia nd Spain increased by nearly 100 per cent, to a total of A$ 1.6 billion in 2001, and it is increasing at a rate nearly twice as fast as Australia s total trade with Europe as a whole.

Australia and Spain enjoy healthy relations built on close people-to-people ties resulting from post-war migration; trade, cultural and scientific contacts; and tourism. The significant Spanish community in Australia, and the fact that over 250,000 Australians, many of Latin American origin, speak the Spanish language, has contributed significantly to our rich and diverse multicultural society.

Disappointingly, however, Spain has largely been overlooked by Australian exporters in favour of more traditional markets within the European Union, such as the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and France. An increasingly affluent Spanish society is demanding more value added goods and services, many of which Australian companies have the capacity to provide.

A growing number of Australian companies are currently conducting business in Spain, l ying the foundations for a future increased Australian presence in the Spanish market. Lend Lease is involved in a number of large construction projects, Amcor has set up packaging manufacturing plants and Burns Philp, Brambles, Billabong and Fosters also maintain a strong presence in Spain.

Also encouraging is the growing number of small-to medium-sized Australian companies actively engaging in the Spanish market. Recent export successes have included items as diverse as live cr yfish, outdoor furniture, sophisticated internet technology and Australian wine. There is potential demand for Australian goods and services across a wide range of sectors.

The Australian Government is working together with the Australian business community and the Spanish Government to facilitate cooperation between our two countries. The Australian Embassy in Madrid is actively promoting Australia as a commercial partner for Spain and number of trade missions, facilitated by Austrade, h ve played a valuable role in promoting commercial opportunities.

The Spanish market provides a rich source of opportunities for Australian companies keen to develop new overseas markets or expand existing export markets. I encourage all Australian businesses to explore these opportunities.

Mark Vaile
Minister for Trade

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