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Leading Sectors for U.S. Export and Investment

Commercial Service Spain Best Prospect Sectors



Unit: USD thousands





2015 (estimated)



Total Turnover





Total Exports





Total Imports





Imports from the U.S.1





Exchange Rate: 1 USD





Data Sources: Unofficial estimates based on information from sector sources, including

TEDAE (Spanish Association for Defense, Aeronautics and Space) and ICEX

Data for 2014 available in July 2015

1 U.S import figures include aeronautics only

2Lower USD estimates reflect the large change in dollar/euro exchange rat e

Spain has a highly advanced aerospace industry that offers excellent opportunities for foreign companies. The sector reached turnover of an estimated USD 10,770 million in 2013 and employs more than 43,000 workers. It is characterized by rapid growth in recent years and significant investment in R&D, up to 11 percent of turnover in aeronautics and 17 percent in space.

Spain’s aerospace industry is currently ranked 5th in Europe in total turnover. Activity is concentrated in

Madrid (49.3 percent of total turnover),

Andalusia (23.8 percent),

Castilla La Mancha (10.6 percent),

Basque Country (9.2 percent),

Catalonia (1.4 percent).

Spain takes part in the main European aeronautics developments, for both civil and military aeronautics. Over the last decade, Spain has experienced a significant increase in participation in programs of civil aviation (Airbus with a 12 percent of participation in the A350 XWB model) and military aircraft (with a 14 percent in Eurofighter aircraft, and with a 15 percent in A400M military aircraft).

The Spanish space industry is primarily involved in contracts of high added value in the areas of qualification of flight and ground equipment and the development and operation of satellite systems. There are also several space centers located in Spain, the most important of which being the European Space Astronomy Center (Madrid) and the Madrid Deep Space Communication Complex (NASA).

Sub-Sector Best Prospects

Key Areas of Activity for Spanish Aerospace Companies:

Spanish aeronautics covers the entire value chain of an aircraft which makes it well positioned in the global context. The established aeronautics companies in Spain stand out in several fields, including military transport and special mission aircraft, low pressure turbines, maintenance, repair and operation activities, air-refueling aircraft and air traffic management. Spain also has a highly specialized industry in aero-engines and propulsion engineering technology, with experience in advanced manufacturing processes.

In recent years there has been ongoing interest within the industry in products related to composite tape-laying machines and fiber placement systems with computerized numerical control. Other products in demand include components for aeronautical software programming, avionics, ground support equipment, and extruded metal products and plastics.

According to TEDAE, aeronautics imports from the U.S. have grown steadily since 2010 after falling from the previous highs achieved in early years. In 2013 it is estimated that U.S. aeronautics imports were valued at approximately USD 227 million, a 16.5 percent increase from the previous year, but well below figures for 2010. U.S. aeronautics products and services are well regarded in terms of price and quality, so U.S. exporters typically have good business opportunities in Spain. The best prospects for U.S. firms in this market continue to be those associated with the manufacturing of new aircraft or engine models, or in highly technical products such as composites

The Spanish space sector has seen a change of priorities in traditionally linked to launches and scientific developments. The emphasis is currently on satellite uses that meet the needs of not only telecommunications, but institutions, governments and civilians. TEDAE estimates that total turnover of the Spanish space sector were an estimated 938 USD millions with a trend of progressive growth with an increase of 2.5 percent reported for 2013.


Spain's aerospace sector continues to grow and shows great potential due to increased competition in the Spanish air transport market and a demand for new technology. Spain’s emphasis on the development of new airport infrastructures should further contribute to this trend.

During the recent economic crisis, companies continued 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 market should be further bolstered in the coming years by increased regional air traffic.

To decrease operating costs, some airlines in recent years have operated leases or short-term leases of equipment or aircraft themselves, opening opportunities for U.S. companies. This strategy has been in use by aviation industry for a number of years, and with additional tax incentives added in 2013, this service market is expected to continue in the short term. However, U.S. aircraft manufacturers face tough competition from Airbus as well as from aircraft manufacturers based in Europe.

Market opportunities are expected to exist due to the need to replace less efficient aircraft with eco-efficient jets as well as from the growth in domestic and international air travel demand. Lightweight aircraft constructed using new materials and composites can improve fuel efficiency. Much of the current effort of airplane producers and their component suppliers to reduce fuel consumption and emissions is concentrated in the area of these lightweight materials. Environmentally -friendly aircraft also involve innovative technology in the area of power and fuel management, “smart wings”, cockpit advances and independent energy sources for equipment.

While Spanish aerospace companies do seek outside suppliers, becoming a supplier can require patience, financial effort, an innovative approach, and competitive pricing. A direct presence in Spain could strongly support this process. The best entry strategy into the Spanish aerospace market is to enter into a partnership with an existing local company, since the Spanish company can act as a representative and provide insight into local markets.

Spain has a presence at several important aerospace trade events:

The annual Aerospace and Defense Meetings in Sevilla, is the most important B2B event in Spain for the aerospace sector. The event aims to provide a platform where leaders in the aerospace industry can meet with potential industry partners. The event includes conferences and workshops covering the latest topics such as OEM procurement and supply chain policies for the aerospace and defense sectors. The event is designed to help large firms and SMEs involved in global aviation and space industries to explore specific markets and seize business opportunities with civil and defense applications. The next edition will be held May 10 – May 13, 2016.

  • At the European level, the International Paris Airshow is the largest and longest-running aerospace trade show in the world. Since its launch the event has become known as one of the most important aerospace meeting places. The most recent edition was held at Le Bourget exhibition center from June 15-21, 2015.

Another important aerospace event is the bi-annual Farnborough International Airshow, held in Farnborough, United Kingdom. The stated objective of the event is to provide first-class business opportunities for the global aerospace industry. The next edition will be held July 11-17, 2016.

Web Resources

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 Events

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








2016 (estimated)

Turnover (USD Thousands)










Exchange Rate: USD 1.00





Data Sources: Unofficial estimates using data from local sources

*USD values of turnover reflect the large change in

dollar/euro exchange rate

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

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).


Industry association representatives are optimistic about growth in the repair and maintenance equipment market despite the challenging economic climate of recent years. 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 should increase market size.

According to DGT, the Spanish traffic authority, there are approximately 27.5 million vehicles in regular use in Spain. Over one-third of them are more than 10 years old. 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 steady growth of the automotive and aftermarket sector in Spain, combined with the solid reputation of U.S. automotive repair and maintenance equipment, should continue to provide opportunities to U.S. companies.

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 end-users and these factors should be taken into account when attempting to introduce new automotive products in Spain.

Motortec Automechanika Ibérica, is a bi-annual trade event held in Madrid for aftermarket car parts, automotive equipment and service suppliers. The most recent edition was held March 11-14, 2015. There were 603 exhibitors present and 51,243 visitors, increases of 28.6 percent and 25 percent respectively over the previous edition.

In order to enter the Spanish market, the most effective way is to partner with a company that can act as a local representative. In such a competitive sector, establishing a partnership with a local company can assist both in market entry and provide insight into the local environment.

Web Resources

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

Chambers of Commerce (Spanish Foreign Trade Statistics): http://aduanas.camaras.org

Trade Events

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












# 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 2013-2014 based on information from sector sources,

including Asebio and ICEX

Spain has a long tradition of scientific excellence, particularly in life sciences. It is ranked 11th worldwide in the area of biochemistry, genetics and molecular biology, and 5th in Europe. Spain’s innovative research and technological development is a key driving force for the biotechnology industry. 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).

The biotech sector has experienced significant growth in recent years, averaging over 50 new companies per year, with numerous companies entering in later development stages. Approximately 2,000 companies use biotechnology as a necessary production tool, while the number of companies with biotechnology as their main or exclusive focus (biotechs) is over 600. Many of the new companies come from university and hospitals, which have created more than 150 spin-offs over the last decade. According to ASEBIO, an estimated 71 new companies whose activities include biotechnology were created in 2013.

Sector sources estimate that total turnover in 2013 for dedicated biotechs reached 8.8 billion euros, representing 0.8 percent of Spanish GDP. Turnover for companies engaged in biotechnology related activities was estimated to be over 80 billion euros in 2013.

A strong innovative infrastructure (ranked 9th 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 internal biotech-related R&D activities area had 23,186 employees in 2013, a decrease of 3.9 percent over the previous year. Madrid and Catalonia account for approximately 50 percent of employment in the private sector.

Most biotech companies are located in Catalonia (21.76 percent), Andalusia (16.15 percent), Madrid (15.91 percent), the Basque Country (10.91 percent), Valencia (8.95 percent), and Galicia (5.07 percent).

According to the INE, internal expenditure on biotech-related R&D activities was 1.43 billion in 2013, a 1.8 percent decrease from the previous year. The public sector accounted for 39 percent of the R&D internal expenditure, followed by the private sector with 36 percent, and higher education with approximately 25 percent.

Source: Instituto Nacional de Estadística, INE

Internal biotechnology-related R&D activities were mainly financed by the public administration (49 percent) and the business sector (30.2 percent) in 2013. Funds from foreign sources (10.7 percent), higher education (8.5 percent) and private non-profit institutions (1.6 percent) financed the rest. Catalonia accounted for 29.3 percent of the internal expenditure, Madrid 25.3 percent, and Andalusia 11.5 percent.

As in other markets, funding is a major challenge for companies in the biotech sector. In the aftermath of 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.

Sub-Sector Best Prospects


Key Areas of Activity for Biotechs:

Food Sector - 69.0 percent

Human health applications,

(Particularly in therapeutics and diagnostics) - 20.0 percent

Agriculture and forest production - 9.0 percent

Animal health and aquaculture - 10.0 percent

Environmental applications - 9.0 percent

Industry - 7.0 percent

Source: Asebio

It is estimated that two-thirds of biotechnology companies concentrate their research and development on new technologies and applications to improve human health. The healthcare sector accounted for approximately 70 percent of biotech related market launches in 2013.

Spain is a leading country in oncology, neurodegenerative diseases, vaccines and other advanced therapies. Spain is one of the leading European countries with the largest number of advanced therapy projects underway.

Spain has also been able to develop key competitive strengths in the area of agro- biotechnology. Spain has the largest area of cultivation of GMO crops in Europe. A total of 131,538 hectares of Bt corn were sowed in 2014. This amount represents 32 percent of total grain maize sowed in Spain

The segment of industrial processes is also expected to grow in the coming years, partly due to an increased focus on bioenergy. Many Spanish firms are recognized for being world leaders in biofuels. Currently, there are approximately 40 different biofuel research projects being developed by Spanish companies.


Spanish biotech pipeline statistics are based on information provided by ASEBIO associated members. The information is not comprehensive, but provides an excellent snapshot of important biotech sector activity. These data were updated April, 2014.

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.


White Pipeline: 188 products, procedures or technologies developed by 31 companies



Opportunities in biotechnology exist primarily for joint ventures, alliances and/or collaboration in research, as well as the development of products and services inherent to a growing biotech sector. Europe and the USA are Spain’s major biotech partners.

Internationalization has become a top priority for Spanish biotech companies. As of 2014, over 30 companies currently have a presence in the United States either on their own or via an agreement with a U.S. entity. 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 and Valencia. However, increased support for the sector has seen the clusters in other regions, such as the Basque Country, Castilla Leon, and Galicia, continue to make progress.

A good venue to meet with representatives from the Spanish biotech sector is the annual BIO event in the United States. Spain had a pavilion at BIO 2015 in Philadelphia with a significant presence of companies and research centers from strong regional clusters including Andalusia, Biobasque and Biocat (Catalonia), as well as exhibitors from other regions. BIO 2016 will take place in San Francisco.

Another important biotech venue is the bi-annual event, BIOSpain, organized by ASEBIO. BioSpain is the largest country-based biotech event in Europe. The 2014 conference took place in Santiago de Compostela in Galicia and hosted 3,327 business meetings, an increase of 20 percent compared to the previous edition. The next edition of BioSpain will be held in Bilbao, September 28-30, 2016.

Web Resources

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

Biotech Sector – Invest in Spain:


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

Regional Bio-Clusters

Madrid: http://www.madridnetwork.org/Estructura/Biocluster

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/ibv/que-es-el-ibv


Galicia: http://www.bioga.org/

Trade Event

BIO-SPAIN, Bilbao, 2016: http://www.asebio.com/en/news_item.cfm?iid=06032016biospain

Commercial Service Spain: www.buyusa.gov/spain

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

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

Business Investment Services


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

The United States continues to be a strategic destination for investment for Spanish firms. U.S. subsidiaries of Spanish firms employed more than 74,000 U.S. workers in 2014.

Spain is the ninth largest investor in the United States, based on country of ultimate ownership. Spanish investment in the US in 2013 was USD 52.08 billion, much of which has been invested by companies providing top-notch, cutting-edge technology to the U.S.

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 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

Spanish investors have been very successful in tapping into opportunities in the United States, particularly in the energy, environmental, infrastructure, financial services, 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 with U.S. companies who can provide assistance with tasks including setting up an office, understanding tax implications, legal requirements, or preparing 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.


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 by the Spanish firms. In addition, the contact data and the services offered by the U.S. service companies are listed in an online 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 148 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

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



Unit: USD thousands






2016 (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 2014, 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. It has experienced double-digit growth even during the past economic downturn.

This trend is supported by 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 74 percent, with 35 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 one of the most widely used payment methods. 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.

Sub-Sector Best Prospects

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 grow, 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.


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 is a targeted Search Engine Optimization for Spain.

Web Resources

Spanish Markets and Competition Commission www.cnmc.es

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

Trade Event

Expo E-Commerce (Madrid) http://expo-ecommerce.com

Global E-Commerce Summit (Barcelona) http://e-commercesummit.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



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; private sector; sector associations and journals.

Demand for electrical energy on the Spanish peninsula registered its fourth consecutive annual decline in 2014, falling to 243,486 GWh, 1.2 percent per cent lower than in 2013. The wind power production was 6.7 percent lower in the year 2014 compared to the previous year, while the installed power did not increase. The annual increment of the hydroelectric production in 2014 was only 5.6 percent. In the case of the nuclear production, a slight annual increase of 1.0 percent was registered. The combined cycle production diminished by 12.7 percent in 2014 compared to 2013. In the case of the solar photovoltaic production, the annual decrease compared to 2013 was 1.1 percent. The solar thermal production was the technology with the largest growth in 2014. It increased by 12.8 percent compared to 2013. The renewable thermal production diminished by 6.8 percent compared to the production in 2013. The rest of the hydroelectric production, that includes production with units smaller than 50 MW in power, was very similar to the one in 2013, with a slight variation of +0.5 percent. Cogeneration is one of the worst affected technologies by the legislation changes in electricity production.

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. 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.

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

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. 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 Europe, 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 areas 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. 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.

Overview of the Spanish Power Generation Market

Annual Demand Coverage

Source: Red Electrica de España 2014

Installed Power Capacity

Source: Red Electrica de España 2014

Transmission/Distribution network

Source: Red Electrica de España 2014

Sub-Sector Best Prospects - Smart Energy

Smart Cities combine diverse technologies to reduce the environmental impact and improve citizen lives. This is not, however, simply a technical challenge; organizational change in governments - and indeed society at large - is also necessary. Making a city smart is therefore a very multidisciplinary challenge, bringing together city officials, innovative suppliers, national and international policymakers, academics and civil society.

Spain has an important activity in The European Innovation Partnership for Smart Cities and Communities, being one of the 31 countries that strongly support this EU initiative.

The Partnership combines energy management, ICT and transport management to come up with innovative solutions to the major energy/environmental, societal and health challenges facing European cities today. With the aim of coming up with scalable and transferable solutions to contribute to the EU’s 20/20/20 climate action goals, it looks to reduce high energy consumption, green-house-gas emissions, bad air quality and congestion of roads.

The Partnership follows the Smart Cities and Communities Initiative which was launched in 2011. This initiative initially only covered energy and had a budget of € 81 million, which increased to € 365 million and extended to include the transport and ICT sectors with the launch of the Partnership in July 2012.

The Partnership aims to overcome bottlenecks impeding the changeover to smart cities, to co-fund demonstration projects and to help coordinate existing city initiatives and projects, by pooling its resources together. It ultimately looks to establish strategic partnerships between industry and European cities to develop the urban systems and infrastructures of tomorrow.

One of the areas the Spanish government is supporting it is in the roll out of the smart grids in Spain which 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. Spain is third European country in terms of smart grid investment in research projects following Denmark and Germany.

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.

One of the main national initiatives in the promotion of smart cities in Spain is the INNPRONTA project CIUDAD 2020, funded by the Spanish government through the Technological Industrial Development Center (Centro para el Desarrollo Tecnológico Industrial – CDTI) http://www.cdti.es/index.asp?MP=15&MS=640&MN=3, which aims to achieve a significant development in the areas of energy efficiency, IoF, IoT, human behavior, environmental sustainability and mobility & transport in order to design the city of the future: sustainable, smart and efficient.

CIUDAD2020 designs and implements a new paradigm of smart, sustainable and efficient city around three fundamental axes:

1. Energy and Efficiency

2. Mobility and Transport

3. Environmental Control

This project expects to contribute to the known as the “20-20-20” targets approved by the European Commission- 20 percent reduction in emissions, 20 percent improvement in energy efficiency and 20 percent increase in renewables by 2020. Other secondary targets related to the project will also be considered as well as time to find a free parking slot, etc. The resulting bundle will create a pioneering approach that will allow CIUDAD2020 to be presented as a reference model for the development of the XXI European cities aiming to achieve quality of life, efficiency and sustainability. The consortium participating in this project has been selected in order to cover all the expertise fields faced by the project regarding to the Smart City, with energy efficiency being one of the key areas. The partners are nine companies (five large enterprises and four SMEs) in collaboration with prestigious Universities and Research institutes which provide a valuable Know-How to the consortium. http://www.innprontaciudad2020.es/index.php/en/participantes-el-consorcio-lider

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.

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.


Renewable energy, smart grids and energy efficiency are key subsectors for smart cities development where opportunities exist for U.S. companies. Spanish renewable energy companies are world leaders and very active in projects worldwide. They are also very much involved in smart grids development and energy efficiency projects. 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 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

Spanish Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism:


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

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

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

SMART CITIES WORLD CONGRESS: http://www.smartcityexpo.com/

GENERA: http://www.ifema.es/genera_01/

MATELEC: http://www.ifema.es/matelec_06/

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

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



Unit: USD Millions






2016 (estimated)

Total Market Size





Total No. franchise brands





Total no. establishments





Total foreign-owned establishments





Total U.S. establishments





Exchange Rate: 1 USD





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 percent as compared to 2012, while the number of networks increased by 4.5 percent.

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 percent). This number increased to 1,199 at the end of 2014, an increase of 10.3 percent.

Total sector sales in 2013 was registered at USD 34.2 billion which was virtually the same as in 2012; however, it is noteworthy that turnover achieved by local franchisees increased 0.2 percent. In 2014, the total sector sales were USD 34.4 billion, which makes a total turnover increase of 0.5 percent from 2013.

The number of operating franchise establishments registered a decrease of 1 percent comparing 2012 with 2013. In 2012, there were a total of 59,758 stores operating, and at the end of 2013 the figure was 59,131 (627 less). However, the number of operating franchise establishments increased from 2013 to 2014 by 8 percent; in 2014 there were 63,869 establishments (4,738 more)

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 percent). The downward trend turned around in 2014, with a total employment of 248,914; 6,774 more than at the end of 2013 (+2.8 percent). This signifies that this business model counts for a great portion of Spain’s economic activity and continues to generate increasing employment opportunities as domestic demand continues to grow.

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 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

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

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


The Spanish Franchise Association’s (AEF) annual report for 2015 reflects the upward growth trend of the franchise sector in Spain in respect to multiple variables including: number of networks, number of establishments, employment, and total sector sales. Xavier Vallhonrat, President of the AEF, says that this indicates growing confidence in this sector, which offers advantages and values needed for expansion.

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

April 21-23, 2016


Int’l Franchise Expo – New York


Web Resources

(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.govInsert text here)

Green Technology


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.

Cities are unable to become smart cities on their own, and they need close partnerships with technology vendors, service providers, infrastructure operators, and many other private stakeholders. It is not by chance that some of the most important developments in smart cities are linked to strong public-private ecosystem partnerships. Despite the importance of these partnerships, it is not easy to make them happen. Regulation, public procurement behavior, economic uncertainty, long-term commitments and returns, and governance and objective divergences are other major hurdles that need to be overcome. Consistent and long-term alignment is a necessary condition to make these partnerships happen and be successful in the long run.

Several of Spain’s largest cities are among the leading cities in Europe on becoming true Smart Cities. The initiatives taken by the city councils in these cities create great market opportunities. Europe’s top 3 countries when it comes to Smart City initiatives are the UK, Italy and Spain. One important example is the Spanish city of Santander, one of the smartest cities in the world, the capital of the region of Cantabria, in the north of Spain. No other city in the world has installed an equal amount of sensors (20,000) to make the city smart. The sensors are monitoring parameters such as noise, temperature, CO2 emissions, traffic density, location of public transportation, the level of garbage in garbage bins, parking spaces and so on.

Malaga is another important smart city in Spain. It is located on the southern shores of Andalusia, south in Spain. Malaga Smart City has taken the lead in other aspects of the Smart City concept. Zero emissions mobility and Zero emission buildings. Entire city districts of Malaga haven been converted into living labs for e-vehicles and self-energy sufficient buildings. By giving micro windmills an agreeable design they are now testing how installations affect the public areas.

In Spain the 50 largest cities have organized their own network of Smart cities (Red Espanola de Ciudades Inteligentes – RECI) in order to share experiences and create market opportunities. http://www.redciudadesinteligentes.es/

To join the network a city needs to have a strategic plan with specific actions to promote innovation and the use of new technologies and needs to be willing to put their resources and experiences available to the other members of the network. The RECI began to take shape in June 2011 with the signing of the “Manifest for Smart Cities Innovation for progress”, whose commitment was to create an open network to promote economic, social and business progress of cities through innovation and knowledge. Its purpose is to share experiences and work together to develop a sustainable management model and improve the quality of life of citizens, focusing on aspects such as environment protection and sustainability. Each of these cities has smart city projects related to the environment. Barcelona and Sabadell score really well because they have numerous projects. The bigger cities almost all have an automatic irrigation system and an intelligent lighting system while the more innovative cities also have a system for pneumatic waste collection. Most of the cities also try to implement renewable energy and modify their municipal buildings to reduce energy consumption.

In the governmental dimension it’s clear that most cities strive for a 100 percent paperless administration but there are big differences in the state of development and implementation of this objective. Barcelona is one of the most advanced cities in this dimension. It implemented several online procedures, an electronic signature and processing documents happens almost completely electronic.

The most popular characteristics are environment and mobility within Spanish smart cities. Most cities have projects affecting those areas. In the dimension mobility recurrent projects are implementing electric vehicles, a bicycle loan system and improving the public transport in order to reduce CO2 and improve air quality. Environmental projects are mostly related to water management, air pollution reduction and sustainable use of resources.

In this regard, Spain’s environment sector opportunities are concentrated in the following markets: fresh and wastewater treatment/management, 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. 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.

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

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, especially due to the interest in the development of smart cities projects all over Spain.

Products and services 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


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.

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.

In the development of smart cities, there will be opportunities in technology for smart pollution control and monitoring, renovation of buildings and new green buildings, green urban planning, as well as technology for efficiently use of resource, re-use and resource substitution. Urban services such as waste management, drainage systems and water resource systems that are monitored to evaluate the system, reduce pollution and improve quality are also good prospects.

Web Resources

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

Information & Communication Technology


Unit: USD thousands




2015 (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. Telecommunication services in Spain have undergone a consolidation process in recent years: Vodafone acquired Spanish cable-network operator Ono and Orange initiated the acquisition of Spanish cable group Jazztel, in order to better provide bundled services like broadband, mobile, pay TV and fixed-line to end users.

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 29,000. Wholesalers and distributors play an important role in the market.

As of 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

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.


U.S. cloud-based services will likely benefit from increased adoption of the technology by Spanish companies. Suppliers of e–commerce solutions, application development tools and cybersecurity solutions will also find positive demand, especially by medium and large companies.

Web Resources

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 Cybersecurity www.incibe.es

Trade Events

IOTS World Congress Barcelona: http://www.iotsworldcongress.com

Mobile World Congress Barcelona www.mobileworldcongress.com


IT magazine www.computing.es

SIC Magazine (Cybersecurity) http://revistasic.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

Medical Equipment & Devices


Unit: USD thousands

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

*Note impact of estimated exchange rates for 2015 and 2016 on figures for these years.

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 over the last several years to reduce the current budget deficit, the level of procurement in the healthcare sector dropped dramatically. According to sector sources, despite the slight increase in 2014, the sector has experienced a setback of 17 percent during the period of 2010-2014. Following on cutbacks in previous years, the official healthcare budget decreased by 6.6 percent in 2014. However, for the first time in the last five years, the overall healthcare budget for 2015 increased, with a slight increase of approximately 1 percent. Nonetheless, the budget assigned to each autonomous region varies and six of the 17 regional healthcare budgets experienced two-digit budget cuts.

Pricing is still a deciding factor. As part of the economic measures adopted by the Government, adjustments were made to the Value Added Tax (VAT) levied on different items. Many healthcare products, medical equipment, sanitary instruments and other sanitary products that formerly paid 10 percent are now subject to the 21 percent rate.

No official statistics are available for the sector as a whole. The above figures are not all-inclusive but reflect market trends. According to FENIN, the impact has not been the same across the board. Because of the current economic situation, demand for products has decreased and cost-efficiency has become a determining factor in many cases. Single use items from Asia are gaining in popularity because of greater cost control. According to FENIN, the sectors that showed a slight increase include ophthalmology (5 percent), dental (6.9 percent), Information systems and clinical technology (14 percent), orthopedic implants and surgery, nephrology, etc. 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 (-8 percent); disposables (-7 percent) and home care oxygen therapy and medicinal gases (- 3 percent).

The sector continues to rely heavily on imports. 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 19 percent since 2008. The figure for 2014 exceeded Euros 2.2 billion (USD 2.9 billion), a 6 percent increase over the previous year. Europe, particularly Eastern Europe, continues to be the principal destination for exports in this sector, with exports to Eastern Europe increasing by 40 percent while those to Asia increased by 30 percent increase in 2014.

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. The budgetary adjustments imposed by the Government as part of its strategy to overcome the severe economic crisis facing the country is the primary cause of the decline in the level of activity in the sector. Each regional government (autonomous community) is responsible for administering its respective healthcare budget assigned by the central government. These budgets vary from region to region and although the majority of the regions will not impose additional cutbacks in 2015and two regions, Madrid and Aragon, have announced slight budget increases, they are all still below the 2010 levels.

Given the weight of the healthcare sector in the Spanish economy, the impact of the budgetary adjustments is visible at all levels. Although the Government authorized special funding in early 2014 to liquidate the outstanding reimbursements and legislation was enacted to ensure that future obligations be met in a timely manner, payments by regional and municipal authorities have started to accumulate again, although the waiting period as of the end of the year had dropped from 380 days in 2013 to 197 days. However, the drop in demand, exacerbated by the ongoing, albeit shorter reimbursement delays and reduced credit, continues to cause 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.

E-health is an area that offers potential. Sector experts agree that healthcare technology is a key component to the growth of the market. The healthcare technology sector, invests 9.5 percent of its turnover in R&D. However, as the roll-out of this sector relies on public funding and is implemented on a regional rather than a national basis, progress in this sector will continue to be slow and uneven.

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

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. With a population of over 47 million, Spain is an important market within the EU for medical products.


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

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

Outbound Tourism to the United States


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

Spain is not only one of the world’s leading tourism destinations; it is also an important source of outbound tourists to a number of countries, including the United States. In terms of the number of travelers to the United States within Western Europe, Spain ranks fifth behind the U.K., Germany, France, and Italy. It is also the 16th largest international outbound market for 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 2015 by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, indicate that the number of visitors and receipts in 2014 had increased by 7.1 percent over 2013, with Spain ranking second worldwide in terms of receipts, following the United States.

Travel to the United States from Spain increased by 12.9 percent in 2014 to 700,084. This increase followed a modest increase of 2.1 percent in 2013. Figures for both years contrast with the decline of 13.3 percent in 2012 caused by the economic challenges facing the country. Despite the substantial decrease in 2012, the United States was the only long-haul market that held its own throughout the economic crisis that started in 2008. The positive figures for the past two years reflect a turnaround in the economy. Spain is slated to have one of the highest growth rates in Europe this year at more than three percent.

Activity in 2015 is expected to follow the positive trend of the previous two years, although the current exchange rate will have an impact on the level of growth.

European destinations accounted for approximately 78 percent of trips made outside of Spain in 2014. Traditionally, 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 account 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.

New York continues to be the top destination, followed by Florida and the West coast. The majority of Spanish travelers are repeat visitors and are no longer hesitant to include several destinations in their itineraries. Package tours remain popular and operators are adjusting their programs to meet their clients’ demands. Nonetheless, the use of Internet continues to rise. Rather than use it just for travel information, travelers increasingly use it to purchase tickets and to make hotel reservations.

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

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 in the Colorado area.


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, coupled with an improving economy, 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, Charlotte, Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago, Miami, and Los Angeles.

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.

Spain’s premier travel and tourism fair, FITUR, will take place in Madrid January 20-24, 2016. 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 to actively promote themselves among the tour operators and the travel press in this promising market.

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. Given the importance of FITUR, BrandUSA has assigned more resources to the Discover America pavilion to make participation more cost-effective. For more information, please check out the following website:

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

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 2016: CS Madrid supports the U.S. Pavilion at this annual Travel and Tourism Fair, held in Madrid in January (Jan. 20-24, 2016). 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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