That dollar figure also represents roughly 2.2% of overall global exports estimated at $17.503 trillion for 2020.
Applying a continental lens, 73.2% of Spain exports by value were delivered to fellow European countries while 11% were sold to importers in Asia.
Smaller percentages went to North America (6.5%), Africa (5.8%), Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (3.3%), and Oceania led by Australia (0.6%).
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 2021. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Spanish exports.
- France: US$61.7 billion (16.1% of total Spanish exports)
- Germany: $39.7 billion (10.3%)
- Italy: $32.8 billion (8.5%)
- Portugal: $31.3 billion (8.2%)
- United Kingdom: $22.2 billion (5.8%)
- United States: $17.4 billion (4.5%)
- Belgium: $17.3 billion (4.5%)
- Netherlands: $14.4 billion (3.7%)
- Morocco: $11.2 billion (2.9%)
- China: $10.3 billion (2.7%)
- Poland: $9.2 billion (2.4%)
- Switzerland: $6.8 billion (1.8%)
- Turkey: $6.5 billion (1.7%)
- Mexico: $4.9 billion (1.3%)
- Sweden: $3.6 billion (0.9%)
Three-quarters (75.3%) of Spanish exports in 2021 were delivered to the above 15 trade partners.
The fastest-growing top importers for Spain’s exports from 2020 to 2021 were Belgium (up 108.7%), Italy (up 40%), Netherlands (up 38.5%), Portugal (also up 38.5%), Poland (up 35%), Turkey (up 33%), Morocco (up 32.8%) and Mexico (up 32.1%).
Trade Partners Driving Spain’s Biggest Deficits
Spain incurred an overall -$33.8 billion trade deficit during 2021. That negative trade balance represents a 91.1% increase from the -$17.7 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$25.7 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2021)
- Germany: -$13 billion
- Netherlands: -$12.9 billion
- Nigeria: -$6.2 billion
- Russia: -$4.4 billion
- Switzerland: -$4.2 billion
- Algeria: -$3.4 billion
- Libya: -$3.07 billion
- Turkey: -$3.05 billion
- India: -$2.9 billion
Spain went from a $1.5 billion surplus trading with Switzerland in 2020 transitioning to -$4.2 billion in red ink during 2021.
From a strictly percentage basis from 2020 to 2021, Spanish deficits accelerated at the fastest pace with Libya (up 755.7%), Russia (up 455.7%), Algeria (up 397.5%), Netherlands (up 219.2%) and Germany (up 150.5%).
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.
Trade Partners Creating Spain’s Biggest Surpluses
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.
- France: US$16.6 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2021)
- Portugal: $13.7 billion
- United Kingdom: $12.1 billion
- Italy: $2.7 billion
- Morocco: $2.6 billion
- Belgium: $2.4 billion
- Greece: $2.1 billion
- Australia: $1.23 billion
- Israel: $1.2 billion
- Gibraltar: $1.18 billion
Among Spain’s trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, Spanish surpluses with Belgium (up 511.8%), Morocco (up 122.8%) and Greece (up 59.8%) grew at the fastest pace from 2020 to 2021.
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.
Major Spanish Companies Servicing Spain’s 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
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on March 16, 2022
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 16, 2022
IMPORTERS.com The Online Market for G20 Importers, Spain Import Export Directory. Accessed on March 16, 2022
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity)
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on March 16, 2022
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on March 16, 2022