Doing business in Spain

10th May 2023

There are multiple benefits for UK companies wishing to extend their reach into the Spanish market, or to work collaboratively with Spanish companies.

Recent years have seen an opening of the Spanish market to UK products and companies. In 2018, over 700 UK companies were operating in Spain, and the bilateral trade between the two nations was worth approximately £40bn per year, making Spain the UK’s eighth largest export market. Furthermore, there has been a growing acceptance in Spain of English as a business language.

This is likely due to the large community of British ex-pats who reside in Spain, in addition to the nation’s large tourism industry. The Spanish acceptance of UK products and English as a business language provides a huge advantage for UK companies and businesses who wish to do business with their Spanish counterparts, or even for those companies wishing to expand their global reach.

Geographical location

Arguably one of the biggest draws for UK companies wanting to do business in Spain is its geographical location and its cultural ties. Located in the south-west of Europe and a Member State of the European Union (EU), Spain has strong geographical, cultural and political ties with the remaining EU Member States, and also has close geographical links to Northern Africa. For UK companies wishing to expand into these two areas, Spain’s proximity to the UK, aided by financially accessible and frequent flights – due to active British tourism and the ex-pat community in Spain – makes expansion in these areas more accessible.

Growing economy

Spain is currently the fourth largest economy in the EU. Less reliant on Russian gas than the other major economies in the EU, Spain’s economy has been less affected by the Russian war in Ukraine, and, aided by a strong summer tourism industry following the Covid-19 pandemic, is expected to continue to grow. Spain has also recently started to invest in its Research & Development (“R&D”) sector. The Spanish government recently announced an R&D budget of almost EUR 4bn. This is indicative of Spain’s commitment to research and can be seen as an opportunity for UK companies wishing to expand or collaborate with companies in Spain.

Links to the RoW

For companies wishing to expand their reach beyond Europe, Spain’s strong historical and cultural links with Latin America offers future opportunities for growth. Becoming established in the Spanish market, or by working collaboratively with Spanish companies, will make the Latin American market more accessible to UK companies.

Legal similarities with the UK

The legal structure of Spain is very similar to that of the UK. While regional bodies in Spain have more autonomy to create their own laws and rules than in the UK, the Spanish government has created reforms aimed at centralising powers and providing uniformity across the regions. The company structures available in Spain mostly mirror those available in the UK, making incorporation and corporate governance relatively simple to translate. Furthermore, Spain is subject to EU rules and regulations that, until recently, the UK was also subject to. This will provide security and ease of understanding for those wishing to incorporate a company in Spain.

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