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Leading Sectors for U.S. Export and Investment

Commercial Service Spain Best Prospect Sectors


Overview Return to top

Unit: USD thousands





2014 (estimated)



Total Turnover





Total Exports





Total Imports





Imports from the US





Exchange Rate: 1 USD





Data Sources: Unofficial estimates using information from local sources including TEDAE (Spanish Association for Defense, Aeronautics and Space)

Spain has a highly advanced aerospace industry, located primarily in Madrid, the Basque Country, and Andalusia, offers excellent opportunities for foreign companies. The aerospace sector has greatly benefited from its recent internationalization. Spain, however, still lags behind the two other leading European countries, France and Germany, where the proportion of airports per inhabitant is ten times greater than that of Spain. In January 2011, British Airways and Iberia merged to form a new company, International Airlines Group (IAG). Efforts in Spain’s aerospace sector are being concentrated on improving Spain’s infrastructure in order to keep up with its European competitors. Currently the aerospace sector employs about 38,000 people in Spain.

Sub-Sector Best Prospects Return to top

Interest is increasing for products related to composite tape-laying machines and fiber placement systems with computer numerical control. Aeronautical products in greatest demand include components for aeronautical software programming, avionics, ground support equipment, and extruded metal products and plastics.

Opportunities Return to top

Spain's aerospace sector is constantly growing and shows greater potential due to increased competition in the Spanish air transport market and a demand for new technology. Liberalization of Spain's internal air transport system has resulted in increased interest for these new technologies, creating opportunities for U.S. manufacturers and distributors.

According to Airbus´ forecast, air traffic in Spain will almost double by 2030.  Spanish airlines will need some 400 new passenger aircraft over the next 20 years. The estimated total market value for the renewal and eco-efficient expansion of the Spanish passenger aircraft fleet is USD 45 billion. The drive for these additional aircraft comes from the need to replace less efficient aircraft with eco-efficient jets and from growth in domestic and international air travel demand. The Airbus forecast reinforces Spain’s position in the global aviation market.

The region’s passenger aircraft fleet of above 100 seats is expected to increase from 203 to 441 more eco-efficient aircraft by 2030.

The military branch of Airbus Defence and Space is based in Madrid and is the only military and civic/humanitarian transport aircraft manufacturer to develop, produce, sell and support a comprehensive family of airlifters ranging from three to 45 tons of payload. This highly versatile product range includes the CN235 and C295 tactical transport aircraft and the A400M airlifter. Airbus Military also played an important role in the innovative multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) project, based on the Airbus 330. In addition, the A400M airlifter is replacing Europe’s ageing military transport fleet. The A400M, the new 21st century tactical and logistical airlifter, strengthened the importance of Andalusia (in the south of Spain) as one of the country’s main aerospace-production regions, since the A400M Final Assembly Line is located in Airbus Military’s second main facility, located close to Seville.

Prospects are promising for Airbus Defence and Space. According to Airbus Group CEO Tom Enders, the last two years have seen an increase in revenues and profits, as well as record aircraft deliveries. As part of a collaboration project with seven other EU countries, Spain planned to receive 27 transport aircraft between 2016 and 2022. Due to budget restraints, the Ministry of Defense announced it would reduce the number to 13 A-400Ms. However, it has committed to exporting the remaining 14, in order to save USD 3 billion and in an attempt to avoid the penalties for reducing the number of aircraft.

In addition to Airbus Defence and Military, other dominant companies in Spain include Aernnova (formerly GAMESA), a manufacturer of structural parts for aircrafts; ITP (Industria de Turbo Propulsores, S.A.) an aircraft engine producer; and Grupo Aciturri. Despite the economic crisis, companies continue to request airline licenses for landing rights from civil aviation authorities. This has increased the total number of airplanes operating in Spain and has created a steady expansion of the spare-parts market. This trend is expected to continue as regional markets develop.

In 2013, IAG’s profits after tax stood at 122 million euros (USD 162 million) and revenues grew 3.1 per cent to 18.6 billion euros (USD 24 billion). Recently, due to stiff competition from low-cost airlines such as Ryanair, EasyJet, and high-speed trains, Iberia decided to acquire Vueling, a low-cost option for its customers. Vueling is the Spanish company that has grown the most in the last two years and it plans on adding 72 new routes in Europe in 2014. If this pattern continues, Vueling will be on track to take over Ryanair’s leading role in low-cost airlines.

Europacifc Growth Fund holds approximately 5.26 percent of IAG’s shares, making it the largest single shareholder. Europacific Growth Fund’s investment objective is to provide long-term growth of capital. The company invests in small and large firms based chiefly in Europe and the Pacific Basin.

To decrease operating costs, some airlines are considering operating leases or short-term leases of equipment or aircraft themselves, opening opportunities for U.S. companies. This service market is expected to increase in the short term. However, U.S. aircraft manufacturers face stiff competition from Airbus and small aircraft manufacturers based in Europe.

Currently, local Spanish manufacturers are unable to meet the production demands for parts and components. Many Spanish sub-contractors are exploring the possibility of forming international agreements to meet increased market demand, offering excellent export opportunities for U.S. companies.

Airbus Helicopters, formerly Eurocopter, is a wholly owned Airbus Group subsidiary. By a process of successive integrations, Airbus Helicopters has become the world-leading rotorcraft manufacturer with a turnover of 6.3 billion euros (USD 8 billion). At present, the company is composed of three entities: the parent company, Airbus Helicopters; the German subsidiary, Airbus Helicopters Deutschland; and the Spanish subsidiary, Airbus Helicopters España.

In the military aircraft sector, Spain’s participation in the Typhoon Eurofighter is a remarkable 14 percent. Due to budget cuts, 14 of the 87 aircraft allocated to Spain under the program, which spans from 2003-2018, have been cancelled, saving the Ministry of Defense an estimated USD 4 billion. The project employs over 22,000 people just in Spain. It has been the catalyst for new and pioneering companies such as CESA, ITP, TECNOBIT, INDRA, Aernnova and Espelsa. It has also led to the development of important new high technologies in the areas of production (i.e. carbon fiber), engineering (i.e. flight test and simulation) and systems integration (i.e. final assembly and communications) by EADS CASA, CESA, INDRA and ITP. Additionally, it has opened the doors for the Spanish industry to participate in other important European joint programs such as the TALARION Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. This program has generated significant economic and industrial profits for Spain due to the pre-established cooperation agreements.

The best entry strategy into the Spanish aviation market is to enter into a partnership with an existing local company, since the Spanish company would act as the representative and provide insight into local markets.

Some of the main events for this sector include:

  • The Aerospace and Defense Meetings Sevilla 2016 will be in May 2016. It is a B2B event where leaders in the aerospace industry can meet with potential industry partners. The program includes a 2-day program of one-on-one meetings, conferences and workshops covering the latest topics (e.g., OEM procurement and supply chain policies) for the aerospace and defense sectors. The event helps large firms and SMEs involved in the global aviation, and space industries to explore specific markets and seize business and partnership opportunities with civil and defense applications.
  • On a European wide spectrum, the next International Paris Air Show will be at Le Bourget exhibition center from June 15-21, 2015 and the Farnborough International Airshow will be from July 11-17, 2016.

Web Resources Return to top

Spanish Association of Technological Companies in Defense, Aeronautics, and Space

(Asociación Española de Empresas Tecnológicas de Defensa, Aeronáutica y Espacio)

www.tedae.org -

Foreign Trade Statistics/ Chamber of Commerce - http://aduanas.camaras.org

Trade Event

Aerospace and Defense Meetings Sevilla 2016 - http://www.bciaerospace.com/sevilla/index.php/en.html


Revista Atenea – Ateneadigital.es

Commercial Service Spain: www.export.gov/spain

Aircraft Parts & Services Sector Specialist: Carlos Perezminguez, Tel: +34 91 308 1598,

Fax : +34 91 563 0859, e-mail : carlos.perezminguez@trade.gov

Automobile Aftermarket, Auto Tuning and Maintenance

Overview Return to top

Unit: USD thousands







2015 (estimated)











Exchange Rate: USD 1.00





Data Sources: Unofficial estimates using data from local sources

Car customization, or tuningas it is known among enthusiasts, has become an increasingly popular trend in Spain. Currently, reliable statistics are not available. In the past, some data was available from the Barcelona Tuning Show. However, this show no longer exists and all that remains are many much smaller gatherings of tuning enthusiasts. Industry experts note that the “tuning” trend may be related to the current economic crisis, more individuals continue to invest large amounts of money in “tuning” their car instead of purchasing a new one.

Sub-Sector Best Prospects Return to top

Trends from the United States heavily influence the “tuning” subsector. As a result, U.S. companies, known for quality and reliability, are sought out by Spanish distributors and consumers of “tuning” accessories for their products—especially exhaust pipes, self-adhesive applications and lighting and signaling equipment (including light-emitting diodes, or LEDs). Despite the financial crisis, a delegation of 29 Spanish firms attended the AAIW SEMA Show in Las Vegas in 2013 (http://www.semashow.com/). The Spanish contingent of 29 firms was one of the largest sent by any country and was the largest from Europe.

Opportunities Return to top

One-third of Spain’s 27.5 million automobiles have been operating for more than ten years. With a large number of outdated automobiles in circulation, there is a growing need for properly equipped auto shops that can meet the demand for repair and maintenance services.

The rapid and steady growth of the automotive and aftermarket sector in Spain, combined with the solid reputation of U.S. automotive repair and maintenance equipment, should enable U.S. manufacturers to maintain and improve their position within the local market. Projections indicate that imports into Spain of automotive and aftermarket products from the United States will increase five percent over the next three years, as highly technical and computerized equipment (mainly diagnostic and electronic equipment) becomes a standard feature of repair shops.

Industry association representatives are optimistic about growth in the repair and maintenance equipment market despite the challenging economic climate. The aging of existing automobiles, stricter enforcement of government technical inspections, and structural changes aimed at increasing market competition and consumption will encourage market demand for auto repair and maintenance equipment. These factors will boost the total market size in the next few years and make it one of the most attractive sectors in the automotive industry.

According to the Specialty Equipment Market Association, SEMA, another indirect end-user is the Spanish automobile owner. Spaniards do not take their automobiles to the auto shop as often as the majority of their fellow Europeans. Spanish auto shops service 800 to 900 automobiles a year, while EU auto shops average an estimated 2,000 automobiles a year.

In the auto repair and maintenance market, the majority of end-users still consider quality and price as the most important factors governing purchasing decisions. Training and after-sales support services are two other factors that influence purchasing decisions among Spanish automobile repair professionals and owners alike.

“Tuning” enthusiasts represent a growing pool of end-users of automotive accessories. In recent years, trade events catering to this trend appeared in Madrid (Madrid “Tuning” Show and Festival) and Barcelona (Barcelona “Tuning” Show). “Tuning” accessories are consumed as luxury goods, not out of necessity. As such, enthusiasts have been known to spend a significant part of their salaries on “tuning” their automobiles. In recent years, however, tuning shows like those in Madrid and Barcelona have fallen victim to the economic crisis and closed their doors. As a result, larger tuning shows have divided into much smaller ones.

Due to the vast popularity of “tuning” in Spain, over 20 magazines have come on the market in recent years to meet the growing demand and to cater specifically to this market. Revista GTI and MaxiTuning España are two of many publications that provide news, photos and design inspiration to “tuning” enthusiasts. In addition, on the television network MTV Spain, MTV Tuning España was the most watched show in the history of MTV Spain with more than 388,000 viewers in 2011. The show was so successful that over 1400 people submitted pictures of their cars in hopes that they would get voted to be on the show. The program renewed for another season in 2012.

In response to the increase in “tuning,” the Spanish government passed the Royal Decree 866/2010 on July 2, 2010, which regulates modifications made to vehicles that mostly include upgrades. Examples of modifications added include, for example, changes to exhaust pipes and headlights and adjustments to the steering wheel. This law serves as evidence of the growing popularity and presence of “tuning” in Spain. The government has expanded the list of changes made to cars that have to be reported to the ITV (Inspección Técnica de Vehículos – Vehicle Technical Inspection). The ITV is an organization more or less equivalent to a state’s vehicle safety inspection service and is the Spanish entity that certifies automobiles to be roadworthy. All cars are required to have ITV certification.

The aging automobile fleet coupled with strict government inspections and increased market competition should result in 10 to 15 percent market growth. The demand for “tuning” is well represented by diverse companies and the market itself continues to grow. Details on successful importers/distributors can be obtained by contacting the Commercial Service Madrid sector specialist indicated below.

Motortec Automechanika Ibérica, a new trade fair held at IFEMA, the fair grounds of Madrid, caters to the aftermarket sector. This trade fair includes a tuning sector and offers a venue to buy and sell car parts and services. In 2011, the fair attracted 450 exhibitors. In total, almost 40,000 professionals representing 49 different countries participated in the event. The next date for this trade show is March of 2015.

Insurance companies have also taken advantage of the rise in the tuning market. The more a car is modified, the more money that has been invested in the car. As a result, insurance companies have created personalized plans for those with modified cars. In some cases, the insurance company covers repairs on modifications made to the car.

In order to enter the Spanish market, the most effective way would be to partner with a local company to act as the local representative. In such a competitive sector, establishing a partnership with a local company can help establish market entry and obtain insight to the local environment.

Web Resources Return to top

ANFAC (National Association of Automobile and Truck Manufacturers): http://www.anfac.es

SERNAUTO (Spanish Association of Equipment Manufacturers for the Automotive Industry), http://www.sernauto.es/

SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association): www.sema.org

Cámaras (Spanish Foreign Trade Statistics): http://aduanas.camaras.org

Trade Event

Motortec Automechanika Ibérica: http://www.ifema.es/web/ferias/motortec/default.html

AAIW (Automotive Automarket Industry Week): www.aaiwshow.com/

Commercial Service Spain: www.export.gov/spain

Automobile Sector Specialist: Carlos Perezminguez, Tel: +34 91 308 1598,

Fax: +34 91 563 0859, E-mail carlos.perezminguez@trade.gov


Overview Return to top










# firms with primary/ exclusive biotech focus (biotechs)






# firms using biotech as a secondary line of business






# firms using biotech as a necessary tool






Total number of firms in the sector






Data Sources: Unofficial estimates for 2012-2013 based on information from sector sources,

including Asebio and ICEX

Despite a challenging economic scenario over the last few years, the Spanish biotech sector continues to move forward. According to the OECD, in 2012 Spain came second in the ranking of countries with the highest number of biotech companies. Over the last five years, the sector has grown approximately 400 percent. Figures provided above and throughout the report are unofficial and are based on input from organizations such as Asebio (Spanish Biotech Association, ICEX (the Spanish Foreign Trade Institute), and INE (the National Institute for Statistics).

Sector sources estimate that approximately 2,000 – 2,100 companies use biotechnology as a necessary production tool, while the number of companies dedicated exclusively to biotechnology (biotechs) is in the 690 range. Spain has a relatively strong spin-off culture, with 10-12 spin-offs from public institutions starting operations every year.

A strong innovative infrastructure (ranked 10th worldwide), the availability of a well-qualified workforce, the favorable cost-benefit ratio of human capital, a well-developed health system with 800 hospitals, and the strong pharmaceutical sector have all contributed to the steady growth of this strategic sector

The economic crisis has taken its toll in the area of employment. The number of direct and indirect employees in the sector declined in 2012 by approximately six percent to 195,000. The internal biotech-related R&D activities area had 24,121 employees. Madrid and Catalonia account 50 percent of employment in the private sector. Companies employing fewer than 250 employees represent 96.6 percent of the sector and employ 36 percent of the sector’s workforce.

Despite a downturn in the number of employees, turnover increased in 2012 to approximately Euros 95 billion (USD 122 billion), a 25 percent increase over the previous year.

One of the areas hit hardest by the economic situation is R&D. According to the INE (the National Institute of Statistics), internal expenditure on biotech-related R&D activities was USD 1.8 billion in 2012, representing a 3.3 percent decrease over the previous year. The public sector accounted for 40 percent of the R&D internal expenditure, followed by the private sector with 36 percent, and higher education with 24 percent.

Source: Instituto Nacional de Estadística, INE

Internal Biotechnology-related R&D activities were mainly financed by the Public Administration (54.5 percent) and the Business sector (28.1 percent) in 2012. Funds from foreign sources (9.8 percent), Higher education (6.2 percent) and Private Non-Profit Institutions (1.4 percent) financed the rest.

Catalonia accounted for 29.5 percent of the internal expenditure, Madrid 26.6 percent, and Andalusia 10.5 percent.

As in other markets, funding is a major challenge for companies in the biotech sector. With the recession, public and university funding has decreased substantially. Private funding has also declined, with companies having to use their own funds to finance activities. Lack of funding has consistently been one of the main obstacles faced by the sector. This obstacle has had a major impact on the way Spanish companies operate and develop new products. The majority of companies that focus on product development find it difficult to maintain a sizeable patent portfolio, while others prefer to focus on providing services rather than product development.

According to National Institute of Statistics (INE), the breakdown of the number of biotech companies is as follows: Catalonia (18.54 percent); Madrid (15.45 percent); Andalusia (13.05 percent); the Basque Country (9 5 percent); Castilla y Leon (7.31 percent); Valencia (7.6 percent); and Galicia (5.7 percent).

Leading Regions for Biotechs

Source: Asebio and INE (National Statistics Institute)

Sub-Sector Best Prospects Return to top

Key Areas of Activity for Biotechs:

Food Sector - 65.0 percent

Human health applications,

(Particularly in therapeutics and diagnostics) - 22.0 percent

Agriculture and forest production - 22.7 percent

Animal health and aquaculture - 10.0 percent

Environmental applications - 11.0 percent

Industry - 7.0 percent

Source: Asebio

There has been a notable increase in the drug-discovery and development areas of the Spanish biotech sector. Oncology continues to be the area with the most developments, followed by cardiovascular, neuro-degenerative, dermatology, viral infections, and rare metabolic and pathological conditions.


Red Pipeline: Shows an increase of 25 percent to 449 projects: 292 medical indications, mainly for oncology, central nervous system, auto immune illnesses and dermatology; 107 products, diagnostic services, and personalized medicine; 42 applications for the healthcare environment and 61 research platforms.


Green Pipeline: The number increased by five percent to 140 products: procedures or technologies developed by 23 companies, a technological center, 2 foundations and a technology park. Forty-five of the projects correspond to ingredients, additives and probiotics.


Spain is a leader in agro-biotech. In 2013, the amount of land in Spain dedicated to the cultivation of Bt corn was 136,961 hectares, an increase of almost 18 percent over 2012. This represented 90 percent of all GM crops in Europe.

Industrial: 188 products, procedures or technologies developed by 31 companies

Opportunities Return to top

Opportunities in biotechnology exist primarily for joint ventures, alliances and/or collaboration in research, as well the development of products and services inherent to a growing biotech sector.

Internationalization has become a top priority for Spanish biotech companies. As of 2013, over 30 companies currently have a presence in the United States either on their own or via an agreement with a U.S. establishment. Spanish companies are present in 30 countries, mainly within the European Union. The majority of companies in the sector have indicated an interest in entering the U.S. market.

The regional governments are key to the development of bio-clusters in their respective regions. The regions with the most biotech-focused companies are Catalonia, Madrid, Andalusia, Navarra, and Valencia. However, increased support for the sector has seen the clusters in other regions, e.g. the Basque Country, Castilla Leon, and Galicia, which continue to make important progress. Almost two-thirds of these companies have a health-related focus, while 23 percent are agricultural-related and 10 percent are industrial bioprocesses.

A good venue to meet with representatives from the Spanish biotech sector is the annual BIO event in the United States. Spain had a large pavilion at BIO 2014 in San Diego. BIO 2015 will take place in Philadelphia.

Another interesting venue is the bi-annual event organized by ASEBIO in Spain. BIOSpain is now the fifth international partnering event, with 2,775 meetings set up during the 2012 edition. The 2014 conference will take place in Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, September 23-26, 2014.

Web Resources Return to top

ASEBIO (Spanish Biotech Association), http://www.asebio.com/es/index.cfm,

Biotech Sector – Invest in Spain:


Spanish Ministry of Health: http://www.msps.es/


Madrid: http://www.madridnetwork.org/Estructura.aspx/RedDeClustersOpcion4

Catalonia: http://www.biocat.cat/en/about-us

Basque Country: http://www.biobasque.org/aBBW/web/en/index.jsp

Andalusia: http://www.andaluciabioregion.es/es/contacto.cfm

Valencia: http://www.ibv.org/es/que-es-el-ibv.html


Galicia: http://www.atcluster.org/en/

Navarra: http://navarrabiomed.es

Trade Event

BIO-SPAIN, Santiago de Compostela, 2014: http://asebio.com/en/news_item.cfm?iid=23052013biospain2014

Commercial Service Spain: www.export.gov/spain

Biotechnology Sector Specialist: Helen Crowley, Tel: +34 91 308 1548,

Fax: +34 91 563 9859, e-mail: helen.crowley@trade.gov

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Business Investment Services

Overview Return to top

United State – Spain Bilateral FDI Unit: USD thousands

Foreign Direct Investment Position







U.S. FDI in Spain





Spanish FDI in the U.S.





Foreign Direct Investment Flows





U.S. FDI in Spain





Spanish FDI in the U.S.





Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis/SelectUSA

Spain is the ninth largest investor in the United States, based on country of ultimate ownership. Spanish investment in 2013 is estimated at USD 52 billion, much of which has been invested by companies providing top-notch, cutting-edge technology to the U.S.  Spain is also within the top 20 fastest growing sources of FDI (18th) with a compound annual growth rate of 11 percent between 2008 and 2012.

Spanish investors seek the expertise and knowledge of U.S-based service providers to enter the market more quickly and successfully. The U.S. Commercial Service in Spain has developed the ServiceSolutionsUSA on-line database to facilitate access by potential Spanish investors to U.S. companies that can offer specialized services required to ensure a successful implementation of their expansion plans. The website for ServiceSolutionsUSA is http://export.gov/spain/servicesolutionsusa/index.asp. Interested U.S. service providers can register for ServiceSolutionsUSA at http://export.gov/spain/servicesolutionsusa/joinus/index.asp.

Sub-Sector Best Prospects Return to top

Spanish investors have been very successful in tapping into opportunities in the United States, particularly in the energy, environmental, infrastructure, banking, and telecommunications sectors. Many of these companies bring with them new products, new technology and, in many cases, new business models. The success enjoyed by these companies is attracting the interest of second tier Spanish company investors, many of which are key suppliers to the leading Spanish multinationals.

Other sectors focusing on the United States include the food /beverage, fashion, biotech/ healthcare, and franchise sectors. Given the current economic environment, Spanish companies will continue to look to other markets for their growth and expansion. The current economic crisis in Spain is limiting opportunities for ongoing growth in the country.

The U.S. Commercial Service receives many inquiries from Spanish companies for contacts in U.S. companies that can provide assistance required with setting up an office, or understanding tax implications, legal requirements, and preparation of visa applications. Business and site selection consultants are also sought to help with business plan development, labor legislation, and specialized human resources. There is specialized demand for consultants who can identify partners for the development of alliances in specific areas.

Opportunities Return to top

The US Commercial Service office in Spain offers the ServiceSolutionsUSA program to help small and medium-sized U.S. service providers export their services to international investors. This program also helps potential international investors enter the U.S. market more effectively by allowing them to easily communicate with these experienced U.S. service companies.  U.S. service providers receive detailed investor notices with a description of the services being sought.  In addition, the contact data and the services offered by the U.S. service companies are listed in an on-line business directory.  Companies listed in this business directory get extensive promotion in the targeted international markets as a result of partnerships with trade associations, and business organizations focused on promoting investment into the United States.

Over 140 U.S. companies have already registered to offer their services to Spanish companies. Thanks to the contacts made via the ServiceSolutionsUSA website, many of these U.S. service companies, including attorneys, accountants, consultants and engineers, are now doing business with Spanish investors and companies.

For more information on this initiative, please contact the program coordinator, Commercial Specialist Carmen Ribera (Carmen.ribera@trade.gov).

Web Resources Return to top

ServiceSolutionsUSA: http://export.gov/spain/servicesolutionsusa/index.asp

Commercial Service Spain: www.export.gov/spain

Professional Services Specialist: Carmen Ribera, Tel: + 34 91 308 1544,

Fax: +34 91 563 0859, e-mail: carmen.ribera@trade.gov


Overview Return to top

Unit: USD thousands




2014 (estimated)



Total Market Size





Total Local Production





Total Exports





Total Imports





Imports from the U.S.





Exchange Rate: 1 USD





Total Market Size = (Total Local Production + Total Imports) – (Total Exports)

Data Sources: Unofficial estimates using data from local sources

During 2013 the Spanish E-commerce sector grew significantly, especially in the B2C area. The sector remains highly competitive and offers growth opportunities for U.S. companies.

Factors which support this trend are the increased penetration of broadband internet in Spain and the deployment of the Electronic National Identity Document (e-DNI), which will provide all Spaniards with a personal digital identity certificate. Internet penetration in Spain is estimated to be 68 percent of homes, with 29 million users.

Top product categories for online purchases by consumers were travel and hotel, direct marketing, ticket services, electronics, clothing and food. Credit cards were the most widely used payment method. The data offered on the summary table is actually closely linked to statistics developed by the Spanish Markets and Competition Commission, based on credit card payment information for e-commerce transactions.

Online supermarkets linked to a physical chain, such as El Corte Ingles, Carrefour Online, Dia and Zara, continue experiencing strong growth. Additionally, the recent opening of a logistic center in the Madrid region by El Corte Ingles is a major new investment in this sector, estimated at 20 million USD.

Sub-Sector Best Prospects Return to top

Demand by consumers in areas such as tourism-related products, e-learning, music and software purchases is significant. Services and products that reach consumers through mobile devices will be growing, as Spain is considered to have one of the largest smartphone penetration rates in Europe. E-commerce software solutions for SME´s are also interesting: specific applications include advertising and marketing tools.

Opportunities Return to top

The current exchange rate between the euro and the dollar enhances opportunities for U.S.-based web marketers, especially for the consumer market. In addition, the expansion of smart phones and mobile internet broadband is facilitating the distribution of paid content and the access to new services. For a successful presence in the Spanish market, translation into Spanish language is critical, as well as a targeted Search Engine Optimization for Spain.

Web Resources Return to top

Spanish Markets and Competition Commission www.cnmc.es

Secretary of State for Telecommunications and Information Society: www.minetur.gob.es/telecomunicaciones

Internet promotion entity RED.ES www.red.es

Data Protection Agency: www.agpd.es

Spanish Digital Economy Association www.adigital.org

Spanish ICT Association (AETIC) www.ametic.es

Spanish Internet companies Association (ANEI) www.a-nei.org

Trade Event

Expo E-Commerce Trade Show http://expo-ecommerce.com


E-Commerce magazine www.ecommerce-news.es

Commercial Service Spain: www.export.gov/spain

E-Commerce Sector Specialist: Jesus Garcia, Tel: +34 91 308 1578,

Fax: +34 91 563 0859, E-mail: jesus.garcia@trade.gov

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ENERGY SECTOR – Smart Grid & Energy Efficiency Technologies and Services

Overview Return to top

Unit: USD thousands








Total Market Size





Total Local Production





Total Exports





Total Imports





Imports from the U.S.





Exchange Rate: 1 USD





Total Market Size = (Total Local Production + Total Imports) – (Total Exports)

Data Sources: Unofficial estimates using data from local sources including Spanish Ministry of the Environment: Institute for Energy Saving and Diversification: sector associations and journals.

Demand for electrical energy on the Spanish peninsula registered its third consecutive annual decline in 2013, falling to 246,166 GWh, 2.3 per cent lower than in 2012. After factoring in the effects of seasonal and working patterns, a decrease of 2.0 per cent was registered.

Installed power capacity on the Spanish Peninsula closed 2013 at 102,281 MW (556 MW greater than 2012). Solar thermal (15 per cent or 300 MW) and solar photovoltaic (3.3 per cent or 140 MW) accounted for the greatest increase. Other technologies did not experienced power variations or the variations experienced were insignificant.

Hydroelectric power stood at 32,205 GWh, 16 per cent higher than the all-time average and 2.5 times greater than that registered in 2012. Hydroelectric reserves for the complete reservoir infrastructure ended 2013 with a fill level of close to 52 per cent of its total capacity, compared to 38 per cent the previous year. Regarding the balance in the generation mix, the high rainfall recorded in 2013 resulted in a significant growth in hydroelectric generation over the previous year (+75.8 per cent in hydroelectric under ordinary regime). In addition, renewable generation included in the special regime increased by 14.2 per cent compared to 2012. In contrast, significant decreases were recorded in production from combined cycle (-34.2 per cent), coal-fired (-27.3 per cent) and nuclear (-8.3 per cent) power stations.

In terms of demand coverage, it is worth noting that for the first time ever, wind power was the technology that contributed most to the annual electricity demand coverage ( 21.1 per cent compared to 18.1 per cent in 2012), reaching the same level as nuclear which contributed 21 per cent (22.1 per cent in 2012). Hydroelectric energy doubled its contribution (14.4 per cent in 2013, compared to 7.7 per cent in 2012), whilst the contribution of coal-fired and combined cycle power stations were down 14.6 per cent and 9.6 per cent respectively (19.3 per cent and 14.1 per cent in 2012). Other technologies maintained a similar share or experienced little variation over the previous year.

The progressively increasing weight of renewable energy in demand coverage has been favored by the high rainfall recorded this year, increasing its share to 42.4 per cent, 10.5 percentage points higher than the previous year. It also reduced CO2 emissions of the electricity sector on the Spanish Peninsula to 61.4 million tons, 23.1 per cent lower than in 2012.

Source: Red Electrica

Electricity exchanges through the Spanish Peninsula-Balearic Islands interconnection resulted in an export balance of 1,266 GWh in favor of the Balearic Islands, which allowed 22.3 per cent of the Balearic Islands' electricity system demand to be covered by the peninsular system.

For the tenth consecutive year, the balance of international electricity exchanges in 2013 was favorable to Spain by 6,958 GWh, although 37.9 per cent lower than in 2012. Exports in 2013 stood at 16,913 GWh (18,986 GWh en 2012) and imports at 9,955 GWh (7,786 en 2012).

The annual demand for electricity in the extra-peninsular systems as a whole closed 2013 with a decrease of 2.9 per cent compared to the previous year. By electricity system, the drop in demand fell by -2.5 per cent in the Balearic Islands, -3 per cent in the Canary Islands, -4.8 per cent in Ceuta and -3.4 per cent in Melilla.

Regarding transmission grid facilities, 747 km. of new lines came into service during 2013, meaning that by the end of the year the national transmission grid circuit totaled 42,116 km. In addition, transformer capacity rose by 2,125 MVA, increasing the total national transformer capacity to 80,295 MVA.

Energy Reform Bill

The Energy Reform Bill, passed in December 2012, threatened the viability of renewable projects, as it reduced subsidies and it may increase the dependence on coal and imported gas. Early in June 2013, the Spanish government announced a substantial reduction in the renewables subsidies since they accounted for almost half of the Euros 20 billion (USD 26.6 billion) annual cost of the nation's electrical system, and capped retail tariffs were insufficient to pay for the open-ended cost of escalating renewable inputs. Subsidies for renewables totaled about Euros 9 billion (USD 11.5 billion) in 2012 and Euros 9.3 billion (USD 12.4 billion) in 2013. According to the Spanish Energy Commission (CNE) and the Markets and Competition National Commission (CNMC), a deficit of Euros 30 billion (USD 38.5 billion) had built up since 2005, The 2012 reforms had started to address this deficit when, in July, the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism introduced further ‘definitive reforms’ to reduce the deficit by Euros 4.5 billion (USD 5.8 billion) per year. These measures will cost utilities Euros 2.7 billion (USD 3.5 billion) per year and consumers Euros 400 million (USD 531) in 2013 and Euros 900 million (USD 1.3 billion) per year thereafter, while the government will cover a further Euros 2 billion (USD 2.6 billion) in 2013 and Euros 900 million (USD 1.3 billion) per year thereafter. Solar companies are expected to be worst affected, due to a debt load estimated at Euros 30 billion (USD 38.5), and widespread financial distress is predicted by solar and wind industry groups. In 2000, the government had promised more than 20 years of large subsidies, and investment proceeded on this basis. In May 2013, renewables received an average subsidy of Euros 100/MWh. The reforms remove the feed in tariffs system and substitute a new Regulated Asset Value-based system (or "reasonable profitability" system) and will cut the payments for renewables by Euros 1.3 to 1.4 billion (USD 1.7 to 1.8 billion) per year.

At the start of 2014, the impact of the switch to capacity-based incentives was unclear. All renewable sources now have to take the pool price based on “reasonable profitability” calculations but the sector has reservations regarding how the “reasonable profitability” is calculated. In April 2014, the CNMC said that proposed reductions in subsidies for renewables would cost producers some Euros 1.7 billion (USD 2.3 billion) in 2014 (wind Euros 400 million/USD 548, others Euros 150-250 million/USD205 – 342 million each). The Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) modifications would determine the rate of return for existing renewable energy companies at 7.4 per cent and for future ones at 7.5 per cent, compared with more than 10 per cent in the past.

Spain ranks #45 in the Renewable Energy Top Market for U.S. Exports 2014-2015 report published in February 2014 by the U.S. Department of Commerce – International Trade Administration. By subsectors, Spain ranks # 35 in wind, #25 in solar, #14 in hydropower and #39 in ethanol. http://export.gov/reee/eg_main_070026.asp

Sub-Sector Best Prospects Return to top

The Spanish energy sector is well developed and enjoys a good reputation globally, especially in renewable energy where it has become a world leader. The growth of technologies – wind and solar thermal and photovoltaic – have far exceeded targets for installed power. By 2020, Spain has pledged to meet 20 per cent of Gross Final Energy Demand through clean energy. The Spanish Island, El Hierro, is about to become the first island in the world that it is energy self-sufficient through water and wind power. Spanish companies continue to be active with renewable energy projects in Spain that have already been registered, but the impact of new legislation has been to limit new investment. Spanish renewable energy companies are very active in projects worldwide. There are opportunities for US firms to team-up with these Spanish firms in projects in Latin America, Middle East and Africa. Joint ventures and partnerships will play an important role in capturing market share and in injecting the necessary capital and state-of-the-art technology.

Other sub-sectors where there are good opportunities for US companies include gas and smart grids. Recent developments in the Ukrainian crisis have placed extensive focus on Spain as an alternative for the Russian gas supply, especially since Spain has already implemented pipelines from Northern Africa. Spain is the 5th largest consumer of energy in the EU, but virtually has no domestic production of liquid fuels or natural gas. There are government regulations, however, that support Spain’s oil and gas imports from multiple countries, diversifying their suppliers.

During the 2011-2016 period, Spain's overall power generation is expected to increase by an annual average of 1.96 percent, reaching 307 TWh. Driving this growth is an annual 3.12 percent increase in gas-fired generation and a 4.86 percent rise in renewable-based electricity supply.

Energy efficiency is a sub-sector that shows growth prospects. Spain is one of the European countries with the highest index of energy consumption based on GDP and electricity prices are high, leaving significant business opportunities for companies that offer energy efficiency solutions. Energy efficiency sector in Spain represented 1.8 percent of GDP and 1.4 percent of total employment.

The stakeholders in the energy sector include government entities at national level such as the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism, the Comisión Nacional de la Energía (National Energy Commission - Regulator), Red Electrica de España (grid operator), Instituto para la Diversificación y el Ahorro de Energía IDAE (Institute for Energy Diversification and Saving). The different Spanish Autonomous Communities have their own regulations and strategies regarding energy projects. Associations such as UNESA (Spanish Utilities Association) and its members the Spanish utilities Endesa, Iberdrola and Gas Natural-Fenosa are also among the main stakeholders in this sector.

Opportunities Return to top

Spain has an important activity in the European smart grid field (3rd country in terms of investment in research projects following Denmark and Germany).

The Spanish government is supporting this area development as the roll out of the smart grids in Spain can produce a benefit between 0.2 per cent and 0.35 per cent GDP with the creation of 40.000-50.000 direct and indirect jobs, while allowing the integration of renewables and the setup of new business.

The private sector is also investing in smart grid development, R&D, as well as projects deployment and technology development, as it is a sector that could highly increase the competitiveness of the utilities. It is estimated that an investment of 1 euro in smart grids generates 2 - 2.3 euros in benefits.

Smart Grid Projects in Spain

The current Energy Saving and Efficiency Plan 2008-2012 (PA4+) forms part of the EU Energy Efficiency Action Plan. The objective of the PA4+ is not only to achieve the commitments set out in Directive 2006/32 EC, which defines a framework for a joint effort to achieve energy savings of nine percent in 2016, but also to meet the target of saving 20 percent by 2020, included in the decision of the European Council dated March 9, 2007.

The strategic targets of this Plan include:

  • To acknowledge energy saving and energy efficiency as a tool for economic growth and social welfare.
  • To create appropriate conditions for of the awareness of energy saving and energy efficiency to become more widespread and better developed in society.
  • To encourage competition in the market under the guiding principle of energy saving and efficiency.
  • To strengthen the position of Spain at the forefront of energy saving and efficiency.

It is calculated that the volume of the energy efficiency market - including consultancy services and the energy services companies - presently amounts to some Euro 100 million (USD 133 million) per year in Spain. Forecasts point towards rapid growth in this business sector. It is estimated that energy efficiency services in Spain will grow until they exceed Euro 2 billion (USD 2.6 billion) in the next four years, generating close to 20,000 jobs.

Spanish companies continue to be active with renewable energy projects that have already been registered, but the impact of new legislation has been to limit new investment in some areas of renewable energy areas. Spanish renewable energy companies are world leaders and very active in projects worldwide. There are opportunities for US firms to team-up with these Spanish firms. Joint ventures and partnerships will play an important role in capturing market share and in injecting the necessary capital and state-of-the-art technology. In this sense, the National Plans promote better energy management and are creating opportunities in areas that help to save energy and water resources.

Business opportunities exist for U.S. firms in the Spanish renewable energy and energy efficiency market with state-of-the-art technology and services. Strategic alliances with Spanish companies can also give U.S. companies access to other foreign markets as well. U.S. small and medium- sized companies should know that doing business with Spanish energy companies can open up opportunities in other industries that are closely linked with energy, such as environmental technology.

Web Resources Return to top

Spanish Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism:


Comisión Nacional de la Energía (National Energy Commission - Regulator): http://www.eng.cne.es/cne/Home

Instituto para la Diversificación y el Ahorro de Energía IDAE: (Institute for Energy Diversification and Saving): http://www.idae.es/index.php/lang.uk/mod.indice/mem.i

Red Eléctrica de España (Electricity Transmission and Operations): http://www.ree.es/ingles/home.asp

Spanish Energy Sector Publication: http://energuia.com/

EU Energy Sector: http://ec.europa.eu/index_en.htm


Customs duties: http://www.taric.es/

Trade Events

GENERA: http://www.genera.ifema.es/ferias/genera/default_i.html

MATELEC: http://www.ifema.es/web/ferias/matelec/default_i.html

Electricity Utilities

ENDESA, S.A. http://www.endesa.com/en/Home

Gas Natural Fenosa S.A. http://www.gasnaturalfenosa.com/en/1285338501612/home.html

HC Energía, Grupo EDP http://www.edpenergia.es/institucional/en/edp-in-spain/

IBERDROLA, S.A. http://www.iberdrola.es/home/

Engineering and Services

ABB S.A. http://new.abb.com/es

Applus S.L.U. http://www.applus.com/es/

Areva http://www.areva.com/

Bureau Veritas http://www.bureauveritas.es/

COAPSA Control S.L. http://www.coapsa.com/

Empresarios Agrupados (EA) A.I.E. http://www.empre.es/

GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy International Ltd. http://www.hitachi-hgne.co.jp/en/

Global Energy Services Siemsa, S.A. http://www.services-ges.com/

Grupo AMS http://www.grupoams.es/

Grupo Copisa http://www.grupocopisa.com/es-es/inicio.html

Grupo Dominguis http://www.grupodominguis.com/es/

Grupo Eulen http://www.eulen.com/

Iberdrola Ingeniería y Construcción, S.A.U. http://www.iberdrolaingenieria.com

IDOM - Ingeniería, Arquitectura y Consultoría http://www.idom.com/es/

Konecranes Ausió S.L.U. http://www.konecranes.es/

Medidas Ambientales S.L. http://www.medidasambientales.com/

Compañía Internacional de Protección, Ingeniería y Tecnología S.A.U – PROINSA:


SENER S.A. http://www.sener.es/inicio/es

Siemens S.A. http://www.siemens.com/answers/es/es/

SOCOIN S.L.U. http://www.socoin.es/

Tamoin http://www.tamoin.com/es/

TECNATOM S.A. http://www.tecnatom.es/

Técnicas Reunidas S.A. http://www.tecnicasreunidas.es/es/

Virlab S.A. http://www.urbar.com/en/virlab/virlab.htm

Westinghouse Electric Spain S.A.U. http://www.westinghousenuclear.com/


SERCOBE, Spanish Association of Capital Goods: http://www.sercobe.es/?lang=en

UNESA, Spanish Utilities Association: http://www.unesa.es/

Spanish Association of Renewable Energy Producers: http://www.appa.es/index.php

Spanish Utilities Association: http://www.unesa.es/

Commercial Service Spain: http://export.gov/spain/

Sector Specialist: Carmen Adrada, Tel: +34 91 308 1542,

Fax: + 34 91 5630859, e-mail:carmen.adrada@trade.gov

Franchise Sector

Overview Return to top

Unit: USD Millions




2014 (estimated)





Total income





Total number of franchise brands





Total number of establishments





Total foreign-owned establishments





Total U.S. establishments






Exchange rate: USD1.00





Unofficial estimates based on input from trade sources.

The franchise sector remains dynamic in spite of the economic crisis of recent years. Turnover in 2013 fell only by 0.2% as compared to 2012, while the number of networks increased by 4.5%.

The most striking data is that each year more companies in Spain are committed to franchising as a model for expansion. The sector was comprised of 1,040 networks in 2012, which grew to 1,087 at the end of 2013 (an increase of 4.5%).

Total sector sales in 2013 was registered at USD 33,288, which was virtually the same as in 2012; however, it is noteworthy that turnover achieved by local franchisee increased 0.2%.

The number of operating franchise establishments registered a decrease of 1% comparing 2012 with 2013. In 2012 there were a total of 59,758 stores opened, and at the end of 2013 the figure was 59,131 (627 less).

The figure in terms of employment generated by the sector at the end of 2013 is 242,140; 4,214 less than at the end of 2012 (-1.7%). Even though the sector employed less people, it still counts for a great portion of Spain’s economic activity and will provide increasing employment opportunities as domestic demand continues to rebound in 2014.

Comparing the performance of the sector between 2008 and 2013, the number of networks has increased by 24.2% (from 875 in 2008 to 1,087 in 2013); the number of establishments grew by 1.4% (58,305 in 2008 and 59,131 in 2013); turnover has fallen only 0.5% (USD 34,542 million in 2008 were invoiced compared to USD 34,352 million in 2013); and generated employment increased by 2.6% (the sector employed 235,929 people in 2008 and 242,140 in 2013).

The total Spanish franchise sector is comprised of 1,087 concepts, 4.5% more than in 2012 when the sector accounted for 1,040, of which 887 are of domestic origin (81.6%) and the remaining 200 (18.4%) come from about 27 countries, like France (44 concepts); United States (36); Italy (33); and Portugal and Germany (10 each).

The sub-sector with greater presence is “Beauty/Health” with 91 brands, followed by "Specialty Stores" with 67.There are 23 new “Food and beverage” brands (which totals 60), and 10 in "Computers / Labeling / Printing / Mobile tech" (which accounts for 65). The subsectors that have suffered more are "Furniture / Home" and "Recreation Centers".

If we look at the regions in Spain that host franchisor headquarters, Madrid takes the lead with 290 (4 more than in 2012); followed by Catalonia with 277 (2 more than 2012); then Valencia with 119 (having lost 5 brands), followed by Andalusia with 104 (7 less brands than the year before. These four regions represent 75.3 percent of all the franchise concepts in the country.

The estimated growth for 2014 is of 4% due to a larger sector activity of bringing new brands into the franchising model. The trend is to slow the pace of this growth in 2015 to 3%.

Undeterred by the difficulties at home, Spanish franchises are still doing quite well abroad. The export of national franchise businesses compensates for lower domestic sales.

The number of franchises abroad has gone up from 271 to 279. The number of establishments abroad also went up from 17,081 to 18,688; and the number of franchises with more than 100 units abroad has reached a total of 29. The US is the main destination for these brands, especially in the food and beverage sub-sector, including the Spanish casual dining brand “100 Montaditos” that is rapidly expanding, with plans to open a number of additional restaurants in the U.S. in 2014-2015.

Franchise Disclosure Rules in Spain

Some additional disclosure requirements became mandatory in Spain in 2006. The new law is the successor to the old Franchise Regime which created a Register of Franchisors and a Disclosure Rule that are still in effect.

1. Each franchisor will have to disclose for how long he has been running the franchise business prior to disclosure;

2. Master franchisees are obliged to annex to their disclose document a copy of their Master Franchise Agreement;

3. Foreign companies have to translate all legal documents into Spanish and register them together with the original versions;

Additionally, each franchisor has the right to voluntarily register the following information:

1. The company's quality certifications;

2. Any mediation or ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) systems in use in the franchise network;

3. Whether the franchisor observes the Code of Conduct;

4. Whether the franchisor participates in the consumers' arbitration system or any other system to settle consumer complaints. Both sides have to decide in which country the arbitration will occur, if needed.

When drawing up contracts, franchise companies - whether Spanish, foreign, or the master franchisee – must be registered in a special administrative Franchisors Registry and are obliged to fulfill the requirements of the Disclosure of Pre-Contractual Information. All required information must be delivered in writing to the intended franchisee at least 20 days prior to signing a franchising contract, pre-contract or prior to any payment to the franchisor.

Thanks to the lobbying force of the Spanish Franchise Association (AEF), the regulation about distribution and franchise agreements that were included in the Spanish Draft of Commercial Act have been finally removed.

On May 28th 2014, the AEF entered into an agreement with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to promote arbitration in master franchise agreements. Franchise lawyers will be fully trained on ADR WIPO proceedings and the AEF will collaborate to verify that a potential arbitrator is experienced enough to be nominated WIPO arbitrator.

The World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty (WIPO Copyright Treaty or WCT) is an international treaty for copyright law, adopted by the member states of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 1996. It provides additional protections for copyright deemed necessary due to advances in information technology since the formation of previous copyright treaties before it. It ensures that computer programs are protected as literary works (Article 4), and that the arrangement and selection of material in databases is protected (Article 5). It provides authors of works with control over their rental and distribution in Articles 6 to 8 which they may not have under the Berne Convention alone. It also prohibits circumvention of technological measures for the protection of works (Article 11) and unauthorized modification of rights management information contained in works (Article 12).

Companies are advised to have all new contracts drawn up in compliance with Spanish and EU legislation, and to have current contracts reviewed whenever possible. Commercial Service Spain advises all U.S. companies to be counseled by a local legal office to assure this compliance.

Sub-Sector Best Prospects Return to top

The franchise sectors that have shown growth and greater interest from Spanish investors are:

  • Beauty
  • Fashion
  • Education
  • Food/Beverage
  • Jewelry
  • Car services
  • Senior Care
  • Other services

Opportunities Return to top

CS Spain offers customized solutions for franchise brands. Please contact us for a special business proposal.

The major trade shows that are promoted to both Spanish and US audiences are:

Expo Franquicia Trade Show - Madrid


Int’l Franchise Expo – New York


Web Resources Return to top

AEF – Asociación Española del Franquiciador – Spanish Franchise Association


Commercial Service Spain: www.export.gov/spain

Commercial Specialist for Franchise Sector: Angela Turrin, Tel: + 34 91 308 1567,

Fax: +34 91 563 0859, e-mail: angela.turrin@trade.gov

Return to table of contents

Green Technology

Overview Return to top

Unit: USD thousands

Green Technologies and Services







Total Market Size





Total Local Production





Total Exports





Total Imports





Imports from the U.S.





Exchange Rate: 1 USD





Total Market Size = (Total Local Production + Total Imports) – (Total Exports)

Data Sources: Unofficial estimates using data from local sources including Spanish Ministry of the Environment: Institute for Energy Saving and Diversification: sector associations and journals.

The European Union sets environmental requirements for all member states. The Spanish government adheres to all regulations. These directives come from Brussels, and are administered and implemented through the three levels of Spanish government: National, Regional and Local. The environmental sector is highly regulated in Spain. Companies have been compelled to follow environmental regulations that have resulted in the market developing strongly. In addition to the central government, 17 Spanish autonomous or regional governments issue environmental laws and regulations that are mandatory for their territories. The regional governments incorporate laws issued by the central government as well as EU directives. Municipalities can also issue environmental norms that affect their municipal area.

Spain’s environment sector opportunities are concentrated in the following markets: fresh and wastewater treatment, remediation services and pollution control. Fortunately, Spain issues one of the lowest tariff barriers in the EU for water supply and sanitation. Private or public-private water companies that maintain contracts with the municipalities service approximately 50 percent of the Spanish population. The largest public municipal company is Canal de Isabel II, serving the metropolitan area of Madrid.

Despite new legislation, water management reform and substantial investments, water resources are not being administered in a sustainable manner. Water quality in many rivers is sub-standard. Groundwater is being used up faster than it is being replenished and competition for water use is intensifying between households, agriculture, and industries, including energy and tourism. Climate change is making this competing demand among the various water resources even more intense.

Environmental protection investment in Spain accounts for 0.10 percent of GDP. By regions, the ones that invest the most in environment protection are Cantabria (0.29 percent); followed by Asturias (0.26 percent); and Aragon (0.20 percent). The regions which invest the least in environmental protection are the Balearic Islands (0.02 percent); Canary Islands (0.04); and Madrid (0.06 percent). Green technologies are crucial for the economic recovery as they help save valuable resources such as energy and water. In 2012, the European Investment Bank (EIB) granted a USD 630 million loan to Spain for water and sanitation improvements along Spain’s Mediterranean coast, the first installment of which was USD 441 million. The funds will help improve water supply systems, develop desalination plants, re-use wastewater, improve irrigation and boost environmental protection in Spain’s five Mediterranean river basins, including the Ebro.

Spain has taken major steps to reinforce its environmental policy and institutional framework. It has made progress in applying EU environmental directives and has made considerable investments in its environmental infrastructure. Emissions have fallen sharply, partly because of the crisis, but also thanks to the promotion of renewable energies. In order to maintain further long-term progress in meeting its emission standards, strengthened policies and better integration of environmental considerations into energy and transport policies are needed. Although it has made significant progress, Spain has not met its Kyoto target. Its greenhouse gas emissions in 2009 were about 30 percent higher than in 1990, substantially short of its Kyoto objective which was to cap growth at 15 percent between 2008 and 2012.

Over three-quarters of Spain’s pollution is located in urban environments. As a result, there is a growing public interest and demand for air quality. The Spanish Ministry of the Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs has implemented policies to combat climate change based on reducing emissions, increasing energy efficiency and raising renewable energy's contribution.

As the Spanish economy expanded, so did the amount of waste. Fortunately, the waste management industry is well established and has a solid reputation. The Spanish government’s 2008–2015 National Integrated Waste Plan (PNIR) aims to reduce waste generation, increase recycling rates and decrease landfill. The major Spanish multinationals in the construction and civil engineering sector are active in the waste and water treatment sectors of the environmental industry. About 88 percent of the 2,000 companies in the Spanish environmental sector, most of them SMEs, use proprietary technology – a percentage which has remained stable in recent years. The remaining 12 percent use primarily European technology, with Germany as a leading supplier of environmental technology.

The stakeholders in the environment sector include government entities: Ministry of the Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment; construction companies (all having water subsidiaries) such as Acciona, Ferrovial, and FCC Group; and Aguas de Barcelona and Canal de Isabel II, in water treatment.

Sub-Sector Best Prospects Return to top

Demand for green equipment, technology and services have decreased due to the economic crisis. Nevertheless, environmental concern is still high and implementation of environmental regulations and resources allocated during recent years underscore Spain’s commitment to this sector.

The 2007-2015 Integrated National Waste Plan contains a number of measures to assure proper waste management and initiates programs and projects with real objectives that can be met during the corresponding period of time. The areas covered by the Plan include: soil treatment; urban solid waste; hazardous waste; end of life vehicles and tires; waste water sludge; construction and demolition waste; PCB/PCT; used battery and storage battery waste; and other waste from electrical and electronic appliances, mining operations, agricultural plastic, and non-hazardous industrial products.

Products and services, identified in the 2007-2015 Integrated National Waste Plan, that could be in demand include:

  • Increase of industrial treatment plants for municipal solid and hazardous waste.
  • New technology to reduce the amount of waste produced as a side effect of current treatment methods.
  • Alternatives to landfill.
  • Selective collection, especially introduction of selective collection at source for urban solid organic waste to improve compost quality.
  • Contaminated soil treatment.
  • New treatment centers and plants for end of life vehicles treatment and tires.
  • Sludge treatment plants and recovery deposits.
  • Waste water treatment plants/facilities

Opportunities Return to top

Spain’s growth in previous years placed even greater pressure on the environment and the use of natural resources. Challenging market conditions brought about by the economic crisis has had an impact on the demand for new products and services. Foreign technology and services can play a significant role in some niche business areas where there is still scope for action, especially if ongoing technological and process innovation is essential. As opportunities in Spain have declined, Spanish companies are going abroad to work in foreign environmental and renewable energy projects. These companies are good potential clients for US suppliers in those sectors.

Fines are increasingly imposed on contaminating industries through central, regional and local governments. These penalties force Spanish industries to look for environmentally safer technologies and pollution-control equipment to treat emissions and industrial waste. As a result, opportunities exist for U.S. environmental companies in this market.

Other areas of opportunity could include: advanced technology for treating certain elements of end-of-life vehicles such as glass, plastic, wood, textiles, foam, catalyzers, oils and brake fluid; new ideas for end-of-life tires; plastics treatment, especially agricultural plastics; hazardous waste treatment including hospital waste; soil remediation; small, modular waste water treatment plants for small residential areas or those in protected rural or green belt zones; among others.

Web Resources Return to top

Spanish Ministry of the Environment: http://www.magrama.es/en/

Institute for Energy Saving and Diversification: http://www.idae.es/index.php/mod.indice/mem.i/lang.uk

Fundación Entorno: http://www.fundacionentorno.org/

Ecovidrio (glass recycling organization): http://www.ecovidrio.es/

Center for Hydrographic Studies: http://www.cedex.es/ingles/home.html

Spanish Water Information System (HISPAGUA): http://hispagua.cedex.es/en

Spanish Desalination and Water Reuse Association (AEDYR): http://www.aedyr.es/index.php

Spanish Association of Environmental Technology Suppliers (AMECMA): http://www.amec.es/amec/ServletControler?accion=amecma_presenta&idSector=4&idSector=4

Ambientum (on-line environmental B2B portal): http://www.ambientum.com/

Gateway to the European Union: http://europa.eu/index_en.htm

EU on-line news bulletin: http://www.aquieuropa.com/

Commercial Service Spain: http://export.gov/spain/

Environmental Sector Specialist: Carmen Adrada, Tel: +34 91 3081542, Fax: + 34 91 5630859, e-mail:carmen.adrada@trade.gov

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Information & Communication Technology

Overview Return to top

Unit: USD thousands




2014 (estimated)



Total Market Size





Total Local Production





Total Exports





Total Imports





Imports from the U.S.





Exchange Rate: 1 USD





Total Market Size = (Total Local Production + Total Imports) – (Total Exports)

Data Sources: Unofficial estimates using data from local sources

The ICT sector in Spain is clearly affected by the overall economic situation in Spain, as major investment decisions and in IT upgrades were reconsidered or postponed. This has been particularly relevant in the public sector investment in ICT at all levels of government. Nevertheless, Spain is one of the largest economies in the European Union, and industry specific solutions will continue to find good opportunities in the private sector. The United States is considered a supplier of innovative products and services.

In the telecommunications area, Telefonica is the dominant player in most market niches. The recent agreement by Vodafone to acquire Spanish cable-network operator Ono is expected to drive additional mergers and acquisitions in the Spanish market. A growth segment of the business is represented by FTTH (Fiber to the home). Telecommunication services in Spain have undergone a consolidation process in recent years that is expected to continue in the near future, including that of large media groups.

U.S. multinationals in IT equipment and software have a very strong position in the Spanish market. More than 70 percent of ICT-related company headquarters are located in two autonomous regions, Madrid and Catalonia (the region including Barcelona). The number of ICT companies in Spain is estimated at 30,000. Wholesalers and distributors play an important role in the market.

Since 2000, under the Information Technology Agreement, to which the EU is a signatory, there is no tariff on computer equipment and software sourced from the United States.

This summary includes data from information technology, telecommunications equipment and services, consumer electronics and digital services.

Sub-Sector Best Prospects Return to top

The consumer area will benefit from increased penetration of smartphones, offering opportunities for multiple digital apps. In the corporate area cloud services, Machine-to-Machine technology (M2M) and information security are expected to evolve positively in coming years.

Opportunities Return to top

The current exchange rate between the euro and the dollar enhances opportunities for U.S.-based in the services area, especially for the business sector, as the economy is expected to pick up pace in 2014. U.S. cloud-based services will likely benefit from increased adoption of the technology by Spanish companies.

Web Resources Return to top

Spanish Markets and Competition Commission www.cnmc.es

Secretary of State for Telecommunications and Information Society: www.minetur.gob.es/telecomunicaciones

Spanish ICT Association (AETIC) www.ametic.es

Spanish Digital Economy Association www.adigital.org

National Institute of Communication Technology www.inteco.es

Trade Events

SIMO Trade Show: www.simo.ifema.es

Cloud &Network Future Trade Show: www.cnf2014.aslan.es

Mobile World Congress Barcelona www.mobileworldcongress.com


IT magazine www.computing.es

Commercial Service Spain: www.export.gov/spain

E-Commerce Sector Specialist: Jesus Garcia, Tel: +34 91 308 1578,

Fax: +34 91 563 0859, E-mail: jesus.garcia@trade.gov

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Medical Equipment and Devices

Overview Return to top

Unit: USD millions

Medical Equipment







Total Market Size **





Total Exports





Total Local Production





Total Imports





Direct Imports from the U.S.





Exchange rate: 1USD





Total Market Size = (Total Local Production + Total Imports) – (Total Exports)

Data sources: * Unofficial estimates based on input from Fenin and sector sources

With a population of over 47 million, Spain is an important market within the EU for medical products. Comprehensive medical attention is available to all Spaniards. Public healthcare institutions are the main purchasers of medical equipment and supplies and represent 80-85 percent of the market. These entities include public hospitals, health centers, research institutes, etc. The private healthcare sector accounts for approximately 10 – 15 percent of the market. The regions of Madrid and Catalonia account for over 80 percent of medical equipment sales.

Small and medium sized companies make up 90 percent of the market and account for more than 40 percent of the turnover. Large companies account for only 8 percent of the market but they generate approximately 60 percent of the turnover. Most of the large US names are well- established in Spain.

As the result of government measures to reduce the current budget deficit, the level of procurement in the healthcare sector dropped dramatically. According to FENIN, the Spanish Healthcare Technology Federation, the overall official healthcare budget decreased by 7.8 percent in 2013. Five of the 17 regional healthcare budgets experienced two-digit budget cuts. Pricing has now become a deciding factor. Sector sources indicate that the level of domestic activity dropped by approximately 5 percent for these reasons, taking it back to 2008 levels. No official statistics are available for the sector as a whole. The above figures are not all-inclusive but reflect market trends. According to the FENIN annual report, the impact has not been the same across the board. The sectors that showed a slight increase include ophthalmology, absorbents, medical probes, and osteotomy. In contrast, electro medical devices continue to decrease due to the reduction in acquisition and/or renewal of new equipment in the hospitals; other areas that experienced negative growth include: cardiology (-6percent); trauma implants (-2 percent); in vitro diagnostics (- 6 percent). Several other areas continued the downward trend of 2012, including nephrology (-5 percent), disposables (-6 percent) home care oxygen therapy and medicinal gases (- 2 percent), as also dressings and wound treatments (-4 percent).

The sector continues to rely heavily on imports. Despite the cutbacks, imports in 2013 increased by 1 percent to USD 6.2 billion. Germany accounts for approximately 50 percent of the imports, while the United States has approximately 25 – 30 percent of the market share. Many U.S. companies centralize their products in other EU countries where the import requirements are less demanding and then trans-ship their products to other EU markets.

Spanish manufacturers are compensating for the drop in domestic activity by stepping up their international activities. Medical device exports from Spain have increased 13 percent since 2008. The figure for 2013 was USD 2.7 billion, a 1 percent increase over the previous year. Sixty percent of the exports go to the EU.

Official tenders are used for most public healthcare sector purchases. There is a pre-selection process among the competing companies prior to the open bid. During pre-selection, supplying companies present the hospital with descriptions of their products and their prices. After reviewing the proposals, the hospital chooses the companies considered the most suitable. In the private sector, tenders are not used. Normally, private hospitals select a small number of suppliers from whom they make direct purchases. Non-EU and U.S. companies need to have either a Spanish distributor or their own branch in Spain in order to participate in official tenders and to avail of other market opportunities, as also to provide the after-care service required by law.

Although the Central Government authorizes the full amount of the healthcare budget, each of the 17 regional governments administers its respective budget. All the regional governments have made substantial reductions in their budgets, in some cases with double-digit adjustments. Given the weight of the healthcare sector in the Spanish economy, the impact of the budgetary adjustments is visible at all levels. Payments by regional and municipal authorities started to accumulate again in 2013 and stood at USD 3.1 billion with a waiting period of 380 days as of the end of the year. The Government authorized special funding in early 2014 to liquidate the outstanding reimbursements and legislation has been enacted to ensure that future obligations be met in a timely manner. However, the drop in demand, exacerbated by the reimbursement delays and a severe credit crunch, caused serious cash flow problems for numerous distributors/importers. Many currently prefer to focus their efforts on essential basic products rather than on new products that require investment without any guarantee of generating demand for the products. While U.S. products are highly considered in Spain, pricing is now a decisive factor, with greater emphasis on cost-effective products and equipment rather than on innovation and quality.

Medical products and devices must have the CE mark and need to be imported by a company authorized to handle medical products. As a result of the development and expansion of the EU market and the requirement for the CE Mark, many U.S. companies have been centralizing their manufacturing and import operations into one single EU country from which they register and distribute their products to the rest of the EU.

Refurbished medical equipment can be imported but both public and private medical providers in Spain have traditionally shown only interest in new equipment. As is the case for new equipment, refurbished equipment must follow CE mark and registration with the Ministry of Health requirements.

Sub-Sector Best Prospects Return to top

Prior to the current crisis, diagnostics, orthopedics and disposable items had accounted for 70 percent of the market. Once the market recovers, best products would include innovative and efficient cardiology, respiratory/anesthesia, neurology, orthopedic, MRA, ETP, CT, and dermatology/wound treatment products. Due to an increasingly aged population, the demand for home care and hospice products should increase slowly but steadily according as the economy improves. While there is a good demand for disposables, Asian products are gaining in popularity because of greater cost control.

Opportunities Return to top

A good venue to meet with Spanish professionals is the Medica trade fair that takes place every November in Düsseldorf, Germany. This fair has traditionally been very popular with Spanish manufacturers and distributors. Many of the Spanish manufacturers that exhibit at Medica also import products.

Web Resources Return to top

Spanish Ministry of Health: http://www.msps.es/en/home.htm

Secretary of State for Commerce, Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, Foreign Trade

Statistics: http://datacomex.comercio.es/principal_comex_es.aspx

Association: The Spanish Federation of Manufacturers, Exporters and Importers of medical devices (FENIN): www.fenin.es

Directory: The Guia Puntex: importers, exporters and manufacturers of medical devices: www.puntex.es

Commercial Service Spain: www.export.gov/spain

Commercial Specialist for Medical Equipment: Helen Crowley, Tel: + 34 91 308 1548,

Fax: +34 91 563 0859, e-mail: helen.crowley@trade.gov

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Outbound Tourism to the United States

Overview Return to top

Unit: USD thousands

Total Inbound/outbound Travelers to/from Spain







Inbound travelers

Outbound *








Receipts (USD)

Payments (USD)









Outbound Spanish Travel to the U.S.


Number of travelers

Travel Receipts (USD)*









Exchange Rate: 1 USD





Data Sources: Spanish Market: IET (Spanish Tourism Institute),

U.S. Market: Dept .of Commerce Office of Travel & Tourism - OTTI/USDOC * Figures for 2013 pending release.

Spain is not only one of the world’s leading tourism destinations; it is also now an important source of outbound tourists to a number of countries, including the United States.

The sector is a major component of the Spanish economy, accounting for almost 11 percent of the country´s GDP. In terms of employment, the sector represents over 11 percent of the active population. Figures released in late January 2014 by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, indicate that the number of visitors and receipts in 2013 had increased by 2.8 percent over 2012, with Spain ranking second worldwide in terms of receipts, following the United States.

Approximately, 620,000 Spaniards traveled to the U.S. in 2013, reflecting the start of a turnaround in the Spanish economy. The number of Spanish visitors had dropped 9.6 percent the previous year. Despite this substantial decrease, the United States had been the only long-haul market that held its own throughout 2012. The forecast is that the country will slowly recover the 2011 level when Spanish arrivals hit the 700,000 mark. Spain is the fifth largest European market for the United States and is the 16th largest international market.

Conservative estimates for 2015 show Spanish arrivals to the United States in the 651,000 range. Within Western Europe, in terms of the number of travelers to the United States, Spain ranks fifth behind the U.K., Germany, France, and Italy.

European destinations accounted for approximately 78 percent of trips made outside of Spain, The most popular destinations are France, Portugal and Italy, followed by the U.K., and Germany. The African continent accounts for eight percent of long-haul travel, with Morocco leading the way with over six percent of the travelers. The Americas accounts for almost 10 percent of long distance travel, with over three percent visiting North America. The most popular long haul destination is the United States, followed by Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Brazil. Asia receives approximately four percent of all long haul travelers.

According to U.S. Dept. of Commerce (TINET) statistics, Spanish travel habits (net purpose) are as follows: leisure and visits to friends and relations – 73 percent; business and convention - 19 percent. The ongoing interest of Spanish companies in investing in the United States will increase the volume of business travel.

The number of travelers making their arrangements directly continues to rise. Top product categories for online purchases by consumers are travel and hotel, ticket services. In 2012, the number of visitors claiming to use pre-paid packages when traveling to the United States increased to 14 percent, an increase of one percent over the previous year.

The regions that generate most U.S.-bound travelers are Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and the Basque Country (in the north of Spain).

Sub-Sector Best Prospects Return to top

The most popular state destinations continue to be New York, Florida, California, Colorado (ski + drive), followed by Arizona with its Grand Canyon, and Nevada with Las Vegas. Additionally, Hawaii, Alaska, Washington, D.C., Boston, Massachusetts, National Parks, theme parks and Indian reservations are attractive destinations. Destinations with easy access to golf courses are also starting to be of interest.

Skiing is another area of interest, particularly to the Colorado area. The ongoing favorable exchange rate is an important reason for this increase, although growing sophistication on the part of the Spanish client is also a factor.

Opportunities Return to top

The close commercial ties between the two countries and the increasing awareness and curiosity about the United States in general, particularly among the younger generation, make Spain a market of opportunity for a wide variety of U.S. destinations.

Industry sources maintain that the increased use of Internet and online purchases combine to make online travel arrangements very attractive.

The increased number of direct routes will also have an impact. There are now direct flights to Boston, New York, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago, Miami, and Charlotte, N.C.

The key to success for U.S. operators and destinations is promotion. The increased competition among local travel industry companies has led to aggressive campaigns, not only in price but also in more varied product offerings. This renewed interest in broadening the range of options available to the traveler provides a good opportunity for U.S. entities to highlight destinations with special unique features as well as their services and products. Of special interest are spin-offs from the principal gateway cities, outdoor activities, and the National Parks.

U.S. destinations should actively promote themselves among the tour operators and the travel press in this promising market.

Spain’s premier travel and tourism fair, FITUR, will take place in Madrid January 28- February 1, 2015. FITUR is Spain and Latin America’s premier annual forum for the tourism and travel sector. It is an excellent showcase for U.S. travel and tourism entities and destinations. The fair is a priority for the U.S. Commercial Service Spain office, which actively supports the U.S. Department of Commerce´s, certified Discover America pavilion at FITUR.

The VisitUSA Committee also focuses on creating greater awareness and knowledge of the United States and promoting U.S. destinations. The United States Commercial Service in Spain (CS Spain) and the VisitUSA Committee collaborate closely in promoting the opportunities of the Spanish travel market to selected U.S. destinations. They look forward to working with motivated U.S. destinations to arrange FAM trips, workshops, and seminars to assist Spanish tour operators, travel agents, and the travel press to learn more about U.S. destinations.

Web Resources Return to top

Spanish Ministry of Industry, Energy & Tourism: http://www.minetur.gob.es/turismo/en-US/Paginas/IndexTurismo.aspx

Spanish Tourism Institute: www.iet.tourspain.es

U.S. Dept. of Commerce Office of Travel & Tourism Industries: http://www.tinet.ita.doc.gov

VisitUSA Committee: www.visitusa-spain.com

Trade Event

FITUR 2015: CS Madrid supports a U.S. Pavilion at this annual Travel and Tourism Fair, held in Madrid in January (Jan. 28 - Feb 1, 2015). www.ifema.es


Website: hosteltur.es: http://www.hosteltur.com/

Daily Press: Nexotur, www.nexotur.es

Commercial Service Spain: www.export.gov/spain

Tourism Sector Specialist: Helen Crowley, Tel: +34 91 308 1548,

Fax: +34 91 563 0859 E-mail: helen.crowley@trade.gov

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