Forget sun, sea and sand. Think trade, commerce and exports
Barcelona's Sagrada Familia, Catalonia's white sandy beaches, La Rioja's delicious wines... there's no denying that Spain has more than a little appeal for the pale, damp, down-trodden Londoner in need of a break at this time of year. But the appeal needn't stop there. The exporting opportunities in Spain are among the best in Europe, and with increasing numbers of British expats living over there, the trading opportunities for businesses of all sizes and in all sectors are becoming increasingly difficult to ignore.
Let's start with the basics: Spain is the fourth largest economy in the Eurozone and is the 13th largest in the world, receiving £14.2 billion-worth of UK exports every single year. Its historic links to Latin America make it a gateway to the emerging economies of Argentina, Mexico, Costa Rica, Chile and many others, with many Spanish companies having large distribution capabilities in the region. And as a fellow member of the European Union with almost one million British nationals calling it home and English as the spoken language of business, Spain's links to the UK are just as strong.
This all bodes well for the London entrepreneur looking for opportunities for export success overseas. This is not to deny that Spain's financial challenges over the past few years have deterred many investors. Although Spain and other countries of Southern Europe have received bad press in this area, current economic indications suggest a growth of one per cent is for this year with further momentum expected
And this has not gone unnoticed among international business people. Foreign investment is already returning to Spain, with €69 billion invested in 2013. This comes partly on the back of Spanish Government's 'Science, Technology and Innovation' strategy which aims to raise the number of innovative tech companies and double the number of PhD holders aged 25 to 34.
Over 900 UK companies already operate in Spain, with high profile UK investors like Stella McCartney, Jo Malone, Tunstall and Primark already reaping the rewards. I'm pleased to say that these high profile exporters are already joined by a raft of smaller companies who have been helped by UK Trade & Investment London. For example, Shoreditch-based Company 'Your Studio', having made the most of UKTI's support, last year secured a deal with Iberia Airways to rebrand the airline's interior design, from the chairs to the crockery, for the new A330 fleet. From this deal alone they were able to increase their revenues by 30 per cent.
The company took the wise decision to pick up the phone and contact UKTI London, where our expert Trade Advisers were able to provide their expertise, advice and support and introduce them to the Spanish market, help them with market research and help them on their way to success in Spain.
You too could benefit from this support, whether in Spain or in any of the 111 countries UKTI operates in. The schemes and events we offer could provide you with a robust export plan. We can help to research markets, put you in touch with local Embassies and in-market experts, work locally to find business leads and give advice and tips on local business culture and etiquette.
I urge all companies who are considering taking the next step on their business journey to engage with the support available from UKTI, work with our specialist advisers and be one of 100,000 new exporters UKTI aims to create in the next five years.
The first step is clear: pick up the phone and call UKTI on +44(0)20 7234 3000 or email email@example.com to speak to one of our excellent trade advisers and begin your exciting journey towards international success.
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