Spain shipped US$345.2 billion worth of products around the globe in 2018. That dollar figure represents roughly 2% of overall global exports estimated at $17.546 trillion one year earlier.
Applying a continental lens, well over two-thirds (69.4%) of Spanish exports by value were delivered to fellow European countries while 10.6% were sold to Asian importers.
Spain shipped another 6.5% worth of goods to North American clients with 6.3% going to Africa. Even smaller percentages went to Latin America (3.8%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, or Oceania (less than 1%) led by Australia.
Spain’s Top Trading Partners
Below is a list showcasing 15 of Spain’s top trading partners, countries that imported the most Spanish shipments by dollar value during 2018. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Spanish exports.
- France: US$52.7 billion (15.3% of Spain’s total exports)
- Germany: $37.6 billion (10.9%)
- Italy: $26.9 billion (7.8%)
- Portugal: $25.1 billion (7.3%)
- United Kingdom: $23.2 billion (6.7%)
- United States: $15.1 billion (4.4%)
- Netherlands: $11.8 billion (3.4%)
- Belgium: $10.1 billion (2.9%)
- Morocco: $9.7 billion (2.8%)
- China: $7.4 billion (2.1%)
- Poland: $7.1 billion (2.1%)
- Turkey: $5.8 billion (1.7%)
- Mexico: $5.4 billion (1.6%)
- Switzerland: $5.3 billion (1.5%)
- Algeria: $4 billion (1.2%)
Almost three-quarters (71.6%) of Spanish exports in 2018 were delivered to the above 15 trade partners.
Turkey was the only top importers that decreased its purchases from Spain from 2017 to 2018, down in value by -9.5%. Among the other 14 countries, gains ranged from a minimum of 3.8% for Mexico up to 32.3% for Algeria.
Overall, Spain incurred an overall -$42.9 billion trade deficit during 2018. That negative trade balance represents a 37% increase from the -$31.3 billion in red ink one year earlier.
As defined by Investopedia, a country whose total value of all imported goods is higher than its value of all exports is said to have a negative trade balance or deficit. It would be unrealistic for any exporting nation to expect across-the-board positive trade balances with all its importing partners. Similarly, that export country doesn’t necessarily post a negative trade balance with each individual partner with which it exchanges exports and imports.
Spain incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries:
- China: -US$19.2 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2018)
- Germany: -$16 billion
- Netherlands: -$8 billion
- Nigeria: -$6.3 billion
- Libya: -$3.3 billion
- India: -$2.9 billion
- Belgium: -$2.8 billion
- Brazil: -$2.8 billion
- Bangladesh: -$2.7 billion
- Saudi Arabia: -$2.7 billion
Spain went from a $501.5 million surplus trading with Belgium in 2017 transitioning to -$2.8 billion in red ink during 2018. From a strictly percentage basis, Spanish deficits with Netherlands (up 142%), Germany (up 78.2%) and Libya (up 77.1%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Spain’s competitive disadvantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Spain to develop country-specific strategies to strengthen its overall position in international trade.
Based on Investopedia’s definition of net importer, a country whose total value of all imported goods is lower than its value of all exports is said to have a positive trade balance or surplus.
Spain incurred the highest trade surpluses with the following countries:
- Portugal: US$10.9 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2018)
- United Kingdom: $8.5 billion
- France: $7.6 billion
- United States: $2.1 billion
- Morocco: $1.9 billion
- Gibraltar: $1.8 billion
- Greece: $1.7 billion
- United Arab Emirates: $1.4 billion
- Bulgaria: $1.2 billion
- Australia: $1.1 billion
Spain shifted from its -$1.5 billion surplus trading with the United States in 2018 to post $2.1 billion in black ink for 2018. Spanish surpluses with Gibraltar (up 34.9%), Bulgaria (up 15.9%) and Portugal (up 9%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.
These positive cashflow streams clearly indicate Spain’s competitive advantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Spain to develop country-specific strategies to optimize its overall position in international trade.
Companies Servicing Spanish Trading Partners
Twenty-seven corporations headquartered in Spain rank among Forbes Global 2000. Below is a sample of the major Spanish companies that Forbes included:
- Abertis (other transportation)
- Ferrovial (other transportation)
- Grifols (biotech products)
- Repsol YPF (oil, gas)
- Telefónica (telecommunications services)
According to IMPORTERS.com listings for Spanish suppliers, the following are examples of companies that ship products from Spain to its trade partners around the globe. Shown within parenthesis are products that the Spanish business provides.
- Acosta Farmacia (pharmaceutical pain medications)
- Acremar Sl (marble, other natural stone)
- Aranda Alcorense (ceramic tiles)
- Ferpuig SL (lighting, decoration products)
- Garcia Ballester SL (clementines, other citrus fruits)
- Gascon Vermuyten SL (frozen food)
- Precocinados Corella/Lazaro Foods (canned vegetables)
- Under The Sun (olive oil)
- Vins I Licors Singulars (wines, whiskies)
- Zadarovstock (wholesale textiles)
See also Spain’s Top 10 Imports, Spain’s Top 10 Exports and Top EU Export Countries
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 20, 2019
IMPORTERS.com The Online Market for G20 Importers, Spain Import Export Directory. Accessed on November 23, 2015
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on March 20, 2019
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on March 20, 2019
The World Factbook, Field Listing: Imports – Commodities, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on March 20, 2019
Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on March 20, 2019