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Country Profile puts the spotlight on Spain


Location:  Sharing borders with Portugal and France (and the Mediterranean Sea, North Atlantic Ocean and Bay of Biscay), Spain is about twice the size of Oregon. Spain also controls several territories in northern Morocco, including the enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, and three nearby islands.

Language: Castilian Spanish

Total Population: 48.5 million

Capital: Madrid

Autonomy note: Spain has two autonomous cities, Ceuta and Melilla, and 17 semi-autonomous communities, created in accordance with the Spanish constitution of 1978. They are governed by the Spanish constitution and their own organic laws.

Spain flag

Spanish Emblems

The coat of arms on the hoist side of the yellow band is quartered to display the emblems of the traditional kingdoms of Spain (clockwise from upper left: Castile, Leon, Navarre, and Aragon), while the stylized pomegranate at the bottom of the shield represents Granada.

Government: Parliamentary constitutional monarchy

Economy: Spain marked its first full year of positive economic growth in 2014 following a prolonged recession in the wake of the global financial crisis that began in 2008. Its economy grew 3.2 percent in 2015 and forecasts for the next several years suggest growth around 2.7 percent. A European Union-funded restructuring and recapitalization program completed in 2014 helped the government assist struggling banks that were impacted by Spain’s depressed real estate and construction sectors. The government also undertook initiatives to reduce the deficit and reform labor laws, public services, and the financial sector. As a result, Spain is more competitive in comparison to costs in other European countries. While high unemployment (20 percent) persists, Spain is experiencing record tourism and export levels, along with “revived domestic consumption,” according to the U.S. Commercial Service.

GDP (official exchange rate): $1.25 trillion

Currency: Euro (conversion rate at press time: 1 euro equals $1.07 USD).

Franchise association: Spanish Franchise Association. About 80 percent of all franchises in Spain are local.

Ease of doing business ranking by World Bank: 32, up one from 2016.

Cultural notes: Plan for a late supper, says Hooters Chief Development Officer Mark Whittle. Dinner isn’t served before 8 p.m. and often not until 10 p.m. And make sure to clarify if a meal is business related, since Spaniards typically think of meals as social occasions, rather than for business talk. Personal relationships are key to business success in Spain, so select your Spanish representatives with care—it’s not easy to switch once someone is associated with you.

Sources: U.S. Commercial Service, CIA World Factbook, World Bank, “Kiss, Bow, and Shake Hands.”

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