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flag Spain Spain: Selling and Buying

In this page: Market Access Procedures | Reaching the Consumers | Distributing a Product | Organizing Goods Transport | Identifying a Supplier


Market Access Procedures

International Conventions
Member of World Trade Organisation
Member of OECD
Party to the Kyoto Protocol
Party to the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
Party to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal
Party of the International Coffee Agreement 2001
Main International Economic Cooperation
European Union
European Economy Section.
Non Tariff Barriers
Spain applies the community regulations valid in the entire European Union.
There are a certain number of restrictions for agricultural products ensuing from the application of CAP (Common Agricultural Policy).
Besides, for health reasons, the presence of GMO must be systematically specified on the packages.
It is forbidden to import hormone-fed beef.
The BSE crisis (the "mad cow's" disease) prompted the authorities to strengthen phytosanitary measures to ensure the quality of meat entering and moving on the territory of the Union. The principle of precaution is henceforth preferred to a greater extent: in case of doubt, the import is forbidden until proof of harmlessness of the products is established.
Customs Duties and Taxes on Imports
Operations within the EEE are exempt from duty.
The Common Customs of the European Union is applied to merchandise from outside Europe. Generally, customs duty is relatively less, especially for industrial products (4.2% on an average).

Customs Classification
SH Nomenclature + additional subdivisions up to eight numbers and own legal notes created for community purposes.
Import Procedures
You must submit to the Customs Office:
- the sales or pro-forma invoice
- a brief declaration (manifest (plane or ship)) for taking charge of the merchandise
- a common law declaration (UDF, unique data folder), as well as the accompanying documents to enable their customs clearance.
The UDF form can be collected from the chambers of commerce or from an authorized printer. A computerized customs clearance platform (SOFI) can be accessed in the customs offices or in some chambers of commerce.

In case of intercommunity deliveries and purchases, goods exchange declaration (GED) or Intrastate declaration must be send to the customs service.

As part of the "SAFE" standards advocated by the World Customs Organization (WCO), the European Union has set up a new system of import controls, the "Import Control System" (ICS), which aims to secure the flow of goods at the time of their entry into the customs territory of the EU. This control system, part of the Community Program eCustomer, has been in effect since January 1, 2011. Since then, operators are required to pass an Entry Summary Declaration (ENS) to the customs of the country of entry, prior to the introduction of goods into the customs territory of the European Union.

The Modernized Customs Code entered into force in 2008 simplifies procedures, for example computerizing and centralizing transactions.

Importing Samples
Business executives entering with commercial samples must carry a letter from their company certifying their status, an identification document of the samples and a certificate that the samples are not for sale. The ATA book can be used. As a signatory to the International Convention to Facilitate the Importation of Commercial Samples and Advertising Matter, Spain admit samples of negligible value duty free.
For Further Information
Agencia Tributaria
Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Commerce
European Union

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Reaching the Consumers

Marketing Opportunities

Consumer Behavior
Price is an important factor in the purchasing behavior of Spanish consumers. They are not necessarily loyal to one brand anymore and distributor's brands are developing rapidly. Payment facilities and an efficient after-sales service are other key factors.
Consumer Profile and Purchasing Power
The Spanish consumer seems demanding, but attaches less and less importance to the guarantee of a known brand. He is conservative and prefers known products to new products but as his lifestyle changes, he can show a bit of curiosity. He has the tendency to favor Spanish products or those which look like them. The consumption of bio products remains very low. Youngsters are less and less loyal to brands and more open to new products.
Consumers Associations
INC , National Institute of Consumption
OCU , Organization of consumers and users
ASGECO , General Consumers Association
CECU , Confederation of Consumers and Users
Consumers' Union of Spain
FACUA , Federation of Consumers in Action
Fuciweb - WebAnalyzer , Federation of Users and Independent Consumers
CEACCU , Spanish Confederation of Housewives, Consumers and Users
UNCCUE , Consumers and Users Cooperatives' National Union
AUC , Communication Users Association
Main Advertising Agencies

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Distributing a Product

Evolution of the Sector
The distribution market in Spain is highly concentrated and specialized. The turnover of retail trade is around EUR 200 billion, or about 15% of GDP. The sector employs over 2.5 million people.

Five distributors control most of the Spanish retail market. They are, in order of importance:
- The group El Corte Inglés (35% of total)
- Mercadona
- Carrefour Group
- Inditex Group
- Eroski Group

Some autonomous communities have restrictions on the establishment of supermarkets and shopping centers.
Market Shares
Distribution in Spain is still characterized by a large number of retailers and traditional stores. Retail trade, which employs 3.1 million persons (2007), is seeing its relative influence in the economy decreasing gradually. Its global turnover reached 194 billion Euros (2005) and was achieved by the 646,000 retail businesses that Spain had (14.6 per 1,000 inhabitants).

The distribution sector in Spain has developed a lot with the potential increase of mass distribution (currently in focus) recently, specialized chains and shopping centers. The consumer, whose purchasing power has increased thanks to the economic growth and the decrease in unemployment is looking for the best quality/price ratio and the variety of the offer. The new state of affairs (slower growth and rising unemployment) makes him turn towards discount stores that he had been staying away from. In any case, he continues to prefer local supermarkets to hypermarkets located on the outskirts.

Organized distribution is dominated by:
-El Corte Ingles (super stores, hypermarkets, supermarkets and all types of specialized brand names with 25% of the turnover from 10 leaders,
-Carrefour (hypermarkets, supermarkets, discount stores) with 20%,
- Mercadona
(supermarkets) with 15%,
- Eroski-Caprabo
(hypermarkets and supermarkets) with 12.7%,
- Inditex (ready-made garments : Zara, etc.) with 11%,
Alcampo (hypermarkets and supermarkets) with 7.3%, etc.
Organizations in the Retail Sector
National Association of Mass Distribution Companies(ANGED)

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Organizing Goods Transport

Main Useful Means of Transport
Transport by sea represents 20% of the GDP of the transport sector and 1% of GNP. The freight traffic at the port reaches 450 million tons. Container freight traffic reaches 11 million TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit). 78% of imports and 51% of exports of Spain transit through the ports.

The country's main port is port of Bahia de Algeciras, with 72 million tons of goods and 3.3 million TEU of container freight each year. It is the first port in the Mediterranean in terms of container freight traffic. The second port of the country is port of Barcelona (free zone) which handles 55 million tons of goods and which is the fourth Mediterranean port for container freight traffic and the first container port of Spain with 3 million TEU. Next comes the port of Valencia (third port of the Mediterranean for container freight traffic) with a total traffic of 51.4 million tons plus 2.6 million TEU. Bilbao and Tarragona are the other important ports.

Air freight reprensents more than 90 million tons. Madrid amasses more than 50% of freight; Barcelona, second airport of Spain: 16%.

Inland goods transport is handled 80% by road.

Rail traffic accounts for only 4% of the traffic. It is slow, it is not very reliable and the railway network is not well-maintained - these are definitely the causes for poor rail traffic. 95% of Renfe's goods transport is by railroad. Trains are especially borrowed by the iron and steel products, mining products, coal, propane and butane.

Combined transport of goods (especially combined road and rail transport) is expanding.
State Ports
Independent Ports
Spanish Airports and Aerial Navigation
Sea Transport Organizations
Ministry of Transport
Air Transport Organizations
Ministry of Transport
Road Transport Organizations
Ministry of Transport
Rail Transport Organizations
Ministry of Transport

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Identifying a Supplier

Type of Production
The industry represents 13.5% of the Spanish GDP. In the basic manufacturing industry, Spain is well-known for its metallurgy industry (iron, steel, lead and zinc), cement industry and chemical industry. The most important processing industries are ship construction, automobile, heavy equipment, rail equipment and electrical machines. Textile industry, leather and hide products, paper production, shoes, toys and tobacco figure among finished products. In the food sector, olive oil, sugar, wine, canned food, beer and liquor industries dominate.

Business Directories

Multi-sector Directories
AITEX Directory - Web portal for textiles.
Business Directory - Website provided by IDEPA, the Economic Development Agency of the Principality of Asturias. A public body, dependent on the Asturian Regional Administration.
Difremm - Industrial directory portal.
Export Madera - Business directory of the wood industry in Spain.
FEDEMCO - Directory of Spanish companies specialized on the wood and timber industry.
Franchise Direct Spain - Browse franchises listed by industry. Choose the best franchise opportunity from these industry categories.
Home Textiles From Spain - Website portal for textiles from Spain.
InfoCarne - Directory of Spanish companies specialized in the meat industry.
Mecalux Logismarket - Industries directory.
Mueble de España - Database of Spanish companies specialized in the furniture industry. - Spanish stone industry directory.
Portal Merceria - Directory of suppliers of Spanish textiles and accessories.
Spanich wineries - Website of the wines from Spain.
Stampa's Members - Members of the Spanish Cosmetics Toiletry and Perfumery Association.
Subcontratación Industrial - Spanish industrial subcontracting business directories. - Spain - Directory of companies in Spain.
Cambres - Directory of Spanish importers and exporters.
Catalogo-Empresas - Spain - Directory of companies, industries & services in Spain.
CEA International - Directory of exporters located in Andalucia, Spain.
EspaInfo - A search engine for companies in Spain.
España, Technology for life - Database of Spanish industrial companies.
Fashion from Spain - Directory of Spanish companies specialized in the fashion sector. - Directory of Spanish companies.
InfoIndustrias - Directory of Spanish companies classified by sector.
Mercado Infantil - Web portal for companies that provide goods for children: producers and distributors. - Business directory of Spanish companies located in the Murcia region.
Paginas Amarillas - Spain's Yellow Pages.
QDQ search engine. - Directory of companies and professionals provided by
Sireh - Directory of companies in Spain.
Spain Business - Directory of Spanish exporters.
The Yellow and White Pages of Spain - Find a business in Spain. - Guide of Spanish franchises.
Waygreenpages - Find manufacturers, retailers and services in Italy or/and Spain.
Manufacturers Associations of the Main Industries
59 professional associations listed for Spain.
Trade Agencies and Their Representations Abroad
Spanish Chambers of Commerce
Enterprises Federation
Spanish Confederation of Organizations of Enterprises
Spanish Confederation of Small to Medium Scale Enterprise
Autonomous Spanish Associations or Confederations
Directorate general of SME policy of the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Commerce
Directorate General Enterprises and Industries of the European Commission

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Last Updates: January 2015