Spain

spain flagThis guide is aimed at those who are considering a visit to Spain in order to procure products and conduct business. The guide is by no means comprehensive and whilst the information detailed in this report is correct at the time of writing, we cannot be held liable for any inaccuracies or discrepancies.

Prior to the recent banking crisis, the Spanish economy was considered to be one of the most dynamic and vibrant economies in the EU. In addition to Spain’s global expansion into Asia and Africa, for many years Spain has dominated the tourism, construction and property industries. However, the recent global economic crisis forced Spain into a housing crisis which has largely affected the country’s level of unemployment and deficit. Despite this, Spain’s success in trade export continues to grow; according to the Ministry of Economy, Spain saw vast improvements in its trade deficit which shrank 1.9% and its exports which grew 11.5% in October 2011 compared with October 2010. The export sector has now recovered to pre-crisis level and is appearing to enable stability for the Spanish economy. What is even more encouraging is the fact that these figures are predicted to continue growing. Whilst a large percentage of these exports are vehicles, the Spanish also triumph in the export of commodities such as medicines, oils and machinery. Spain is also well renowned for the country’s high quality food produce and is prominent in providing olive oil, oranges, grapes, wine and tomatoes to a wide range of countries.

Spain’s culture is incredibly diverse due to the country’s placement between the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, Europe and Africa. Sitting at these crossroads has benefited Spain hugely in the name of business, but it has also largely influenced their culture and arts. Spain has produced some of the finest and most influential artists in the world, including Salvador Dali, Goya and Picasso. This domination in European art continues to this day. In addition to this, the hugely popular instrument, the guitar, was invented in Spain - as was flamenco, which originally derived from Western Andalusia. Spain are also hugely passionate about football and claim two of the most flourishing football clubs in the world with Real Madrid C.F. and FC Barcelona. In essence, the Spanish philosophy tends to lean towards the significance of living the good life. Spain was noted as being in the top 10 countries on the quality of life index rating in 2005, topping France, Germany and the United Kingdom. This most likely explains as to why Spain has the highest number of immigrants within the EU and has previously been so successful in its tourism and property sectors.

Spain is one of the countries that partake in the Schengen Agreement of 1995. This means that if your country of residence is a member of the Schengen Acquis or the EU then you are permitted to stay in Spain for up to 90 days. If you are a non-EU resident, then you will need to apply for a Schengen Visa which will then allow you to visit Portugal for up to 90 days.

Much alike to other European countries, Spain promotes the idea of creating a personal and trusting relationship with any potential business partners. If truth be told, Spanish business people place a higher level of importance over their personal relationship with their associates rather than their professionalism. This does not mean that all proficiency can be made redundant; however it is definitely worth ensuring that you are able to establish and hold conversation concerning family, hobbies and interests with your Spanish counterpart. It is also wrong to assume that every Spanish business person will be able to speak English. Spain is the dominant language and so it is imperative that you are well prepared for this by hiring an interpreter, or if you are looking to impress, the ability to be able to speak at least some basic Spanish should be well received. The Spanish are also renowned for their impeccable appearance. Spain faithfully follows the trends set by fashion capitals such as Milan and Paris and therefore they will make judgements based on how you choose to present yourself. Ensure your shoes are polished, your hair is neat and clean and that you wear a fitted business suit or smart dress.

Official Season Clarification

Winter: December, January, February
Spring: March, April, May
Summer: June, July, August
Autumn: September, October, November

Key facts:

  • Capital: Madrid
  • Population: 46.4 million
  • Area: 505,988 sq km
  • Currency: Euro
  • International dialling code: (+) 34
  • Official language: Spanish
  • Main Exports: machinery, motor vehicles, chemicals, shipbuilding, foodstuffs, electronic devices, pharmaceuticals and medicines.
  • Ports: Algeciras, Barcelona, Blibao, Caragena, Ferrol, Las Palmas, Palma, Seville and Valencia.
  • Time Difference: UTC/GMT +1 hour.

Top Tips:

  • If at your initial meeting there is no discussion of the business in hand, do not be put off. The first meeting between yourself and your Spanish clientele acts as a formal introduction to getting to know each other; the Spanish value personal qualities over professionalism.
  • Introductions are formal, use Señor in meeting a male and Señora in meeting a female business person.
  • If possible, be prepared for a language barrier by providing printed material in both English and Spanish and hiring an interpreter if required. Not all businesspeople speak English.
  • Expect to be interrupted whilst you are conversing, however do not take this is an insult. It is most likely that your business associate is thrilled by what it is that you are saying.
  • Decisions are not always made at meetings and so prepare to be patient in this case.
  • Face-to-Face contact is advisable rather than using written or telephone communications, when possible.
  • The Spanish place high importance on appearance; it is best to avoid bright colours and wearing trendy labels will appeal to their nature.
  • The Spanish are particularly fond of their food and why wouldn’t they be? Ensure at dinner meetings that you articulate respect by eating everything from your plate
  • Spaniards require far less personal space than other nationalities. It is impolite to inch away from the speaker and therefore disallow yourself to be put off by closeness.
  • Before planning a business meeting in Spain, be aware that the Spanish largely enjoy their leisure time. Many Spanish workers do not work on Friday afternoons, so planning meetings for this time is pointless. Additionally, many offices in Spain implement a summer schedule in which they open earlier and close for the day between 1400 and 1500 and many Spaniards choose to take their holidays during the month of August.

Important Note: The information detailed within the contents of this website is to the best of our knowledge at the time of writing. We reserve the right to amend any information where we see fit.

This website may include links to third party sites and sources with which we have no involvement in regards the content.

Spain

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