Spain’s trade plays a significant role in the nation’s economy, accounting for more than half of its GDP. The nation has, however, had a trade deficit persistently over the past few years, which stood at $77.5 billion in 2009, according to CIA reports. Spain’s weak trade scenario is attributable to several factors, predominantly the nation’s increasing reliance on imported petrol and decreased market competitiveness. Additionally, the steady decline of Spain exports is also attributed to the strength of the euro, since it was adopted by Spain for international trade, which has made Spanish exports more expensive.
Spain Trade, Exports and Imports: Overview
Spain’s top export and import partners are from the EU region. Key export commodities of the nation include motor vehicles, foodstuffs, medicines, machinery and pharmaceuticals. During 2009, Spain had net earnings of $215.7 billion from its exports. This represented a decline of $70.2 billion from the export earnings of 2008.
Spain’s imports were valued at $293.2 billion in 2009, which was a considerable decline from the 2008 level of $415.5 billion. The reason for such a wide gap between Spain’s exports and imports is the lack of resources in the nation, particularly oil. The nation imports a sizeable 1.813 million barrels of oil per day. Other vital import commodities of Spain are mechanical and electric machinery, and iron and steel.
Major trade partners of Spain and their share in its total trade, according to CIA reports for 2009, include:
Spain Trade, Exports and Imports Agreements
Spain’s trade policy is similar to that of other nations of the European Union. The common weighted average tariff rate in the EU was 1.3% in 2008. The EU, however, has higher tariffs for manufacturing and agricultural products. The EU and Spanish trade policy also has several non-tariff barriers, particularly in the primary and secondary sectors, such as:
Subsidies and quotas
Import restrictions or bans on shipment of certain goods
Market access restrictions in certain services sectors
Other widespread issues with Spain’s trade are inconsistent customs and regulatory administration and stringent protection of intellectual property rights.