Spain is one of the most significant economies in the world: 9th in terms of size and an attractive destination for foreign investment, making Spain the 6th largest recipient of FDI worldwide. Spain’s appeal for foreign investment lies not only in its domestic market, with its high purchasing power, but also in the possibility of operating with third markets from Spain. This is so because Spain offers a privileged geo-strategic position within the European Union giving access to over 1,700 million potential clients in the EMEA Region (Europe, Middle East and Africa). Its strong economic, historic and cultural ties also make Spain the perfect gateway to Latin America.
Furthermore, Spain is a modern knowledge-based economy with services accounting for 71.09 percent of economic activity. The country has become a center of innovation supported by a young, highly-qualified work force and competitive costs in the context of Western Europe.
The growth of the Spanish economy in recent years has been driven by strong demand and a substantial expansion of production in the context of an increasingly open economy. Today Spain has a domestic market of 46.7 million people with a per capita income (ppp) of 23,874 by INE for the year 2008, and an additional injection of demand coming from the 52.2 million tourists13 who visit the country every year. The close links with Latin America and North Africa and the obvious advantages of using Spain as a gateway to those countries are worthy of mention.

Foreign trade and investment

In recent years, rapid growth in international trade and foreign investments has made Spain one of the most internationally-oriented countries in the world.
With regard to the trading of goods, Spain is ranked 17th in the world as an exporter and 12th as an importer; while in the trading of services it occupies 7th place as an exporter and 9th place as an importer.
The share of Spanish exports and imports of goods with respect to global figures amount to 1.7% and 2.4%, respectively. The share of exports and imports of services with respect to global figures stand at 3.8% and 3.0%.
As would be expected, the countries of the EU are Spain´s main trading partners. Accordingly, during 2009, Spanish exports to the European Union accounted for 69.3% of total exports and sales to the Euro Zone 57.1% of the total. As for imports, those originating from the European Union accounted for 58.3% of the total and those from the Euro Zone 48.1%.
Specifically, Spain’s leading trade partners are France and Germany. Beyond the EU, of note are Asia and Africa, which have displaced Latin and North America from their traditional role as Spain’s main trade partners outside the EU.
As regards investment, Spain is positioned as one of the main recipients of investment worldwide. Specifically, according to the UNCTAD, in 2008 Spain was the 6th largest recipient of foreign direct investment in the world, 4th in the EU. Moreover, Spain is also one of the main foreign direct investors in the world: $77 billion in 2008 for a rank of 8th largest investor worldwide.
The structure of the Spanish economy is that of a developed country, with the services sector being the main contributor to GDP, followed by industry. These two sectors represent approximately 87% of Spain’s GDP with agriculture’s share today representing a 2.6% of GDP, and declining sharply as a result of the country’s economic growth.

Population and human resources

The population of Spain in 2010 was 46.7 million people, with a population density of more than 92.60 inhabitants per square kilometer.
Spain is a markedly urban society as evidenced by the fact that more than 32% of the population lives in the capitals of the provinces.

Geography, climate and living conditions

The Kingdom of Spain occupies an area of 504,782 square kilometers in the southwest of Europe, and is the second largest country in the EU. The territory of Spain covers most of the Iberian Peninsula, which it shares with Portugal, and also includes the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea, the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean, the North African cities of Ceuta and Melilla and some surrounding rocky islands.
Despite the differences among the various regions of Spain, the country can be said to have a typical Mediterranean climate. The weather in the northern coastal region (looking onto the Atlantic and the Bay of Biscay) is mild and generally rainy throughout the year, with temperatures neither very low in the winter nor very high in the summer. The climate on the Mediterranean coastline, including the Balearic Islands, Ceuta and Melilla, is mild in the winter and hot and dry in the summer. The most extreme differences occur in the interior of the Peninsula, where the climate is rather dry, with cold winters and hot summers. The Canary Islands have a climate of their own, with temperatures constantly around 20 Celsius degrees and only minor variations in temperature between seasons or between day and night.
Spain has an excellent quality of life and is very open to foreigners. More than 10,000 kilometers of coastline, abundant sporting facilities and events and social opportunities are crowned by the diversity of the country’s cultural heritage as a crossroads of civilizations (Celts, Romans, Visigoths, Arabs, Jews, etc.).