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flag Spain Spain: Investing

In this page: FDI in Figures | Why You Should Choose to Invest in Spain | Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment | Investment Opportunities


FDI in Figures

After FDIs dried up due to the crisis in the eurozone, they recovered in 2013 thanks to the country becoming more competitive and increased confidence of investors. Spain remains one of the world's fifteen largest FDI receipients (UNCTAD 2013).

In terms of FDI appeal, the country’s strengths include: cultural proximity to Latin America, with the presence of a number of Spanish multinational companies, boom in tourism, its highly efficient transport network and development of renewable energies. Spain aspires to become one of the world's key research actors. To this end, it has developed the "Malaga Valley" project, whose promoters are hoping to construct the largest European research and innovation center dedicated to information and communication technologies.


Country Comparison For the Protection of Investors

  Spain OECD United States Germany
Index of Transaction Transparency* 5.0 6.0 7.0 5.0
Index of Manager’s Responsibility** 6.0 5.0 9.0 5.0
Index of Shareholders’ Power*** 7.0 9.0 5.0
Index of Investor Protection**** 5.0 6.1 8.3 5.0

Source: Doing Business - Last Available Data.

Note: *The Greater the Index, the More Transparent the Conditions of Transactions. **The Greater the Index, the More the Manager is Personally Responsible. *** The Greater the Index, the Easier it Will Be For Shareholders to Take Legal Action. **** The Greater the Index, the Higher the Level of Investor Protection.

Foreign Direct Investment 201120122013
FDI Inward Flow (million USD) 28,37925,69639,167
FDI Stock (million USD) 628,950644,677715,994
Performance Index*, Ranking on 181 Economies 58--
Potential Index**, Ranking on 177 Economies 24--
Number of Greenfield Investments*** 358388362
FDI Inwards (in % of GFCF****)
FDI Stock (in % of GDP) 43.248.852.7

Source: UNCTAD - Last Available Data.

Note: * The UNCTAD Inward FDI Performance Index is Based on a Ratio of the Country's Share in Global FDI Inflows and its Share in Global GDP. ** The UNCTAD Inward FDI Potential Index is Based on 12 Economic and Structural Variables Such as GDP, Foreign Trade, FDI, Infrastructures, Energy Use, R&D, Education, Country Risk. *** Green Field Investments Are a Form of Foreign Direct Investment Where a Parent Company Starts a New Venture in a Foreign Country By Constructing New Operational Facilities From the Ground Up. **** Gross Fixed Capital Formation (GFCF) Measures the Value of Additions to Fixed Assets Purchased By Business, Government and Households Less Disposals of Fixed Assets Sold Off or Scrapped.

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Why You Should Choose to Invest in Spain

Strong Points
The country's main strong points are flexibility and adaptability of economic operators and in the quality of life the country offers.
Weak Points
The country's weak points are the low productivity of its manpower, its weak competitiveness as well as a growing trade balance deficit. The complexity of the regulation system with regard to the 17 Autonomous Communities is also a hindrance to investment.
Government Measures to Motivate or Restrict FDI
Spain applies the principle of free establishment and non-discrimination. Foreign investors can operate any type of business and under the same conditions as a local investor. The CEE Council Directive no. 88/361/CEE dated June 24, 1988, concerning the free movement of capital between the residents of member States was adopted in the Spanish legislation by Law no. 18/1992 of July 1, 1992, and came into effect on July 4, 1992 and by Royal Decree 1816/1991 no. 1816/1991 of December 20, 1991 on Foreign Economic Transactions.

The gaming, television, radio and air transport sectors are protected by restrictions for the investors residing outside an EU member country; it is the same for businesses manufacturing and selling arms. In the latter case, these restrictions also concern investors within the community.
Bilateral Investment Conventions Signed By Spain
Spain has signed bilateral agreements with more than fifty countries. 47 agreements can be downloaded from the website of UNCTAD: click here to download these agreements. They define the framework for foreign investment protection in Spain for each of the signatory countries.

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Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment

Freedom of Establishment
Acquisition of Holdings
The acquisition of majority interest by a foreign company in a Spanish company is authorized provided that the business is not in the regulated sector of production and trade of weapons.
Obligation to Declare
Investment portfolios from an EU member state are exempt from all declarations whatever their amount. Direct investments can require a prior declaration, when the investment amount or the granted loans exceed 30,000 Euros for a foreign interest holding higher than 50%. The request is to be made with the Register of Foreign Investments, from the Directorate General of Commercial Policies and Foreign Investments (DGPCIE).
Competent Organization For the Declaration
Sub-secretary of state for Commerce
Requests For Specific Authorizations

Learn more about Foreign Investment in Spain on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

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Investment Opportunities

Investment Aid Agency
Tenders, Projects and Public Procurement
Vision Netware, Competitions and Tenders
Ted - Tenders Electronic daily, Business opportunities in EU 27
Globaltenders, Tenders & Projects from Spain
Tenders Info, Tenders in Spain
DgMarket, Tenders Worldwide
Other Useful Resources
The investment aid agencies of the autonomous communities

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Learn more about Investing in Spain on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

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Last Updates: January 2015