At-a-glance information on Spain’s business climate and culture
Move slowly, build a relationship with prospective partners and don’t plan to visit your banker in the afternoon. Just some of the information that will come in handy when you bring your brand to Spain.
Language: Castilian Spanish
This design of Spain’s flag allegedly dates back to the ninth century when the French king (known as Charles the Bald) wiped his blood-stained hands down the sides of the yellow shield of the Count of Aragon. Whether it’s fact or fiction, it’s still a better story than Betsy Ross’s.
Religion: Roman Catholic is 94%
Population: 47.7 million
Urban Population: 77.4%
Major Urban Areas: Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia
Literacy Rate: 97.7%
Unemployment Rate: 26%
Type of Government: Parliamentary monarchy
Time Difference: Six hours ahead of EST
Legal System: Civil law with regional variations
GDP: $1.389 trillion
GDP Ranking: 15th in world
Exchange Rate: 1.00 EUR = 1.36356 USD (at press time)
Internet Usage: 72% of population
Local Franchises: 80% of all franchises in Spain are local
U.S. Commercial Service office Madrid:
Phone: 34 91 564 8976
Fax: 34 91 563 0859
Ease of Doing Business (ranking by The World Bank): 52nd, down from 46th in 2013
Dress Code: High-fashion brand names for clothes and accessories are noted and make a good impression
Average business hours for shops: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; 4:30 to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday, and Saturday mornings
Average hours for professional businesses: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; then from 4 to 7 p.m. (hours are set by the government, according to the law firm Strong Abogados, in Sevilla, although some changes are occurring)
Bank Hours: From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., then by law, banks can choose either to open one afternoon a week, or on Saturday morning
Lunch hour: Between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Dinner hour: Typically 10 p.m., and a lighter meal than lunch
Business lunches: Need to be clarified beforehand, since Spaniards typically think of meals as social occasions, rather than business
Vacations: Many Spaniards have 30 days of paid vacation and take them in June or August.
Holidays: Spain has the largest number of holidays in Europe (14), plus local and regional festivals. So be mindful of events when setting appointments and making travel plans
Common business structures: Public Limited Company (“Sociedad Anónima” or “S.A.”) and Limited Liability Company (“Sociedad de Responsabilidad Limitada” or “S.R.L.”)
Taxes: U.S.-Spain Tax Treaty offers certain tax exclusions and/or maximum tax rates, which an investor with tax residency in the U.S. can claim with respect to its Spanish tax responsbilities, and vice versa.
American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham), located in Barcelona
Phone: 34 93 415 9963
Punctuation: Dates are written day/month/year; a comma is used, rather than a decimal point to separate the fractional part of the number from the integral number (for example, 123,45 rather than 123.45).
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain (Valencia is third), with a population of 1.6 million. It is an important cultural center and tourist destination. The Port of Barcelona is one of Europe’s busiest seaports, as is the Barcelona-El Prat Airport.
Madrid is the 6th most attractive city in the world (following London, Paris, Beijing, Shanghai and New York), according to Informa D&B, 1Q 2012; it hosts more than 5,500 foreign companies; and is 7th in the world for attracting international conferences.