Spain: An open economy and trading partner

| April 3, 2018 | 0 Comments
Canada’s future search and rescue Airbus aircraft, seen here, was designed and built in Spain. (Photo: Airbus Defence and Space)

Canada’s future search and rescue Airbus aircraft, seen here, was designed and built in Spain. (Photo: Airbus Defence and Space)

In recent years, Spain’s economy has improved its competitiveness by increasing productivity and creating a better business environment. Projected GDP growth for 2017 is 3.1 per cent. Currently, Spain’s is the fifth-largest economy in Europe and 13th globally, with a nominal GDP of $1.2 trillion US. To put things in perspective, Canada ranks 10th globally with a nominal GDP of $1.5 trillion.

Spain is an open economy with trade in goods accounting for approximately 60 per cent of GDP. Bilateral trade between Spain and Canada has been on the rise for more than a decade, but there’s still significant room for expansion. Two-way trade in 2016 was approximately $4.2 billion Cdn, making Spain Canada’s sixth-largest client in Europe and 16th in the world, as well as its fifth-largest supplier from Europe and 19th in the world. Canadian imports of Spanish products were valued at $2.2 billion Cdn and Canadian exports to Spain were approximately $2 billion.
Spain’s top exports to Canada include pharmaceuticals, petroleum preparations, wines, biotech products, motor-vehicle parts, airplane and helicopter parts, footwear and paper as well as Mediterranean fruits and vegetables. Major Canadian exports to Spain include airplanes, iron ore, turbines, crude petroleum, copper, soybeans, dried leguminous vegetables, chemicals, crustaceans and nickel.
The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union has created more opportunities for trade by removing customs duties. It also strengthens economic relations and facilitates the participation of companies in public procurement projects in Canada and in Spain. These areas will grow as more companies take advantage.
CETA and an attractive competitive environment also provide interesting business opportunities in Spain for Canadian investors in value-added and strategic areas such as ICT, renewable energy, biotechnology, environment, aerospace and the automotive industry. By setting up business in Spain, Canadian companies gain access not only to an attractively large national market with more than 46 million consumers, but also to the European and Latin American markets, which benefit from the country’s privileged geographic position, prestige and the strong presence of Spanish companies in these regions. Scores of Canadian companies from diverse sectors are already established in Spain, including Bombardier, in the aerospace and railway sectors; Magna, in automotive; CAE in flight simulation and air crew training; Almonty, in mining; SNC-Lavalin, in engineering; Ivanhoe Cambridge, in real estate; and many others. New Canadian companies could still benefit from gaining access to the European market by settling in Spain or partnering with Spanish companies.
Spain’s technology sectors have made dramatic advances in recent decades. Spanish companies have developed expertise at home and taken it overseas with great success in such areas as personalized medicine and e-health, desalination, renewable energy and infrastructure and are also providing advanced solutions in aerospace, water treatment, biotechnology, industrial machinery, transportation infrastructure and civil engineering.
The Spanish government is determined to deepen development the country’s strength in technology and innovation. For instance, Airbus was selected to provide Canada with 16 new search and rescue airplanes, designed and engineered in Spain by the Spanish aeronautics company that is part of Airbus. A joint venture with the Canadian company PAL Aerospace will provide in-service support.
Moreover, Spain has one of the world’s best railroad infrastructures, according to The Global Competitiveness Report (World Economic Forum), and world-class subway systems in all major cities. Spain has built a remarkable network of high-speed rail, which stretches around the country, linking major economic centres. It is the third largest worldwide (and first in Europe) with more than 2,500 kilometres of high-speed lines in service, with trains travelling at an average commercial speed of 222 kilometres per hour and outperforming Japan (218 kilometres per hour) and France (216 kilometres per hour). This know-how is being exported worldwide, most notably with the new high-speed corridor between Makkah and Madinah that crosses the coastal and desert regions of Saudi Arabia and is 444 kilometres long.
Across Canada, some major infrastructure projects are also being developed by companies from Spain, in partnership with Canadian groups: Cintra-Ferrovial, the 407 Express Toll Route in Toronto; OHL, the CHUM hospital in Montreal; Acciona, the B.C. Hydro Site-C dam in British Columbia; and ACS-Dragados, the Champlain Bridge in Montreal and Ottawa’s Light Rail Train.

Enrique Ruiz Molero is the ambasssador of Spain. Phone him at (613) 747-2252 or email him at

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Category: Diplomatica

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Enrique Ruiz Molero is the ambasssador of Spain. Phone him at (613) 747-2252 or email him at

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