Economic Analytical Unit - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Australian Government
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Doing business in Spain
An introductory guide to the market

Section 4 - Business Resources

If you are considering taking your commercial interest in Spain further, the Australian Government is well placed to assist in dealing with foreign governments, providing market analysis and planning advice, and, once established, on-going support for Australians trading and investment interests. A network of industry associations can also assist with advice.

Commonwealth Government Services

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)

The Australian Government's integrated trade policy has as its main goal the creation of new and more open markets for exports that will contribute to growth in Australia's economy, employment and standard of living. DFAT, in coordination with Austrade, provides assistance to Australian businesses to access overseas markets. It is able to provide details of Australian foreign and trade policies.

DFAT has offices located in all Australian capital cities and manages a network of more than 80 overseas posts. In close cooperation with Austrade, the Australian Embassy in Madrid promotes Australia as a business destination and Australian business capability, know-how and expertise to Spain's commercial sector. This active public diplomacy program, including with provision of practical information in the Spanish language through the Embassy's website and
promotion of Australian cultural exports, aims to facilitate Spanish awareness of Australia as stable, reliable and innovative business partner.

DFAT also leads efforts to improve access to the Spanish market by seeking the removal of market access barriers. Support is provided for sectoral interests, as well as for Australian firms on an individual basis. The Australian Embassy in Madrid and the Australian Mission to the European Union in Brussels have crucial roles in this regard.

The Australian Embassy in Madrid can assist with opening the door for Australian companies to Spanish Government bodies and decision-makers. DFAT also provides on-line economic and political information on Spain to interested Australian companies.

In conjunction with other relevant agencies, DFAT has negotiated bilateral agreements which further assist the bilateral commercial relationship. Australia signed a Double Taxation Agreement with Spain in 1992. Under the bilateral Travel Facilitation Arrangement signed by both countries in November 1998, with effect from 28 July 2000, Australian's travelling to Spain for business meetings and/ or holidays do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days. Discussions are underway on an Information and Communications Technologies Cooperation Memorandum of Understanding and a Working Holiday Makers Arrangement to permit young Australians and Spaniards to take working holidays in each other's country.

Apart from the Embassy in Madrid, Australia is also represented by Honorary Consuls in Barcelona and Seville.

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The Australian Trade Commission ( Austrade) is the Federal Government agency that helps Australian companies win overseas business for their products and services by reducing the time, cost and risk involved in selecting, entering and developing international markets.

Austrade's mission is to contribute to community wealth by helping more Australians succeed in export and international business.

Austrade is represented in 109 locations in 61 countries, including an extensive domestic network throughout Australia. Austrade offers practical advice, market intelligence and ongoing support ( including financial) to Australian businesses looking to develop international markets. Austrade also provides advice and guidance on Australian overseas investment and joint venture opportunities, as well as helping put Australian businesses in contact with potential overseas investors. Austrade maintains an office in Madrid, headed by Trade Commissioner. The types of services the office can offer include:

In Spain, Austrade has assisted many companies, from a range of market segments, to successfully enter the market. Austrade is particularly active in the information technology, telecommunications, education, marine, agribusiness and biotechnology sectors.

Austrade also administers the Export Market Development Grants ( EMDG) scheme, which grants over A$ 130 million each year to small to medium sized Australian exporters and potential exporters. The EMDG scheme provides assistance to small and medium Australian exporters committed to, and capable of, seeking out and developing export business by repaying part of their promotional expenses.

On line: Austrade

Invest Australia

Invest Australia is Australia's national inward investment agency, responsible for attracting productive FDI into Australia. It promotes Australia as an internationally competitive investment destination and provides foreign investors with professional advisory services and programs to facilitate their investments in Australia. Working in partnership with business and government, it helps Australian companies find strategic foreign partners and attract foreign investment to meet their development needs. In the past five years Invest Australia has helped a wide range of international businesses invest in Australia and is currently working with companies on projects with potential investment in Australia of more than A$ 50 billion.

Invest Australia seeks to encourage international firms to locate their regional headquarters and operating centres in Australia to service Australia and the Asia Pacific region. It provides information on Australian industry capabilities, skills availability, research and development capacities, infrastructure, business costs and the range of relevant government assistance programs. It can also advise on investment regulations, tax matters and intellectual property issues.

Invest Australia has investment advisory specialists in 14 locations around the world, including New York, London, Paris, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo, to provide investors with on-the-ground support and free investment advice. Its industry specialists also work in Australia to advise investors on the benefits of investing in Australia's key industries.

On line: Invest Australia

Export Finance and Insurance Corporation ( EFIC)

EFIC is Australia's export credit agency providing a range of export credit insurance and finance services that help expand and diversify Australian exports, develop new markets and facilitate investments by Australian companies overseas. In 2001 02, EFIC supported A$ 7.2 billion worth of exports to 171 countries, including Spain.

The Credit Insurance Group provides short-term export credit insurance to Australian exporters and banks against non-payment by overseas buyers or overseas banks in respect of Australian exports.

The Export Finance Group provides medium-to long-term finance facilities to the buyers of Australian exports, or to their financiers, to assist with the purchase of capital goods and services exports. EFIC also offers political risk insurance to protect both investors and lenders against incurring financial losses arising from political events.

Over the past two years, EFIC provided finance and insurance for exports to Spain valued at over A$ 50 million. The transactions vary in size and include all sectors; from primary products such as wool, meat and iron to manufactured products like wine, clothing and machinery.

On line: EFIC

Broader Commonwealth Government Services

The Foreign Affairs and Trade Portfolio is not alone in the promotion of Australian commercial interest abroad other Australian Commonwealth Government departments and agencies can also assist. Exporters and investors should investigate the services and advice provided by such entities as the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Australia, the Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources, Department of Education, Science and Training, and Australian Education International.

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State and Territory Government Services

State and Territory governments also offer services to assist firms based in their states to export. Federal, state and territory governments coordinate their programs, so they are able to support each other and use trade promotion resources as effectively as possible.

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Spanish Government Services

A number of departments and agencies of the Spanish Government are active in promoting Spain as a market for trade and investment. Much of the information is provided in Spanish, but some is in English. The Guide to Business in Spain provides a comprehensive, English- language, description of the Spanish economy, its commercial, tax and labour regulations, as well as other relevant issues for foreign companies willing to invest in Spain. Prepared by the Instituto Español de Comercio Exterior, the Guide is accessible from the Investinspain website.

The Instituto Español de Comercio Exterior ( ICEX) is Spain's Institute for Foreign Trade ( its Australian equivalent would be Austrade) . It is a public entity and exists to assist Spanish companies develop their export sales. To this end, ICEX assists in designing and carrying out promotion and investment programs and holds published information about Spanish businesses and foreign markets. In order to carry out its work, ICEX uses its Economic and Commercial offices based overseas and its Regional and Territory Commercial Branches within Spain. In Australia, the Spanish Economic and Commercial office is based in Sydney.

The Department within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in charge of external relations is the General Directorate for International Economic Relations (Dirección General de Relaciones Económicas Internationales ( REI) ) . The REI is responsible for coordination between government ministries involved in the promotion of foreign investment.

The Ministry of Economy is the relevant government department concerning trade and investment promotion. The General Directorate for Trade and Investment (Dirección General de Comercio e Inversiones) operates overseas through the Economic and Commercial Offices of the Embassies of Spain. The Investinspain website, set up by the Directorate, provides comprehensive information about investing in Spain. Part of the Directorate's functions are to advise potential investors about the possibilities of setting up operations in Spain, and provide tailor-made reports on the questions that may arise when elaborating their investment plans, such as location strategies, financial aid available, tax and labour regulations and economic trends. The Directorate can also organize meetings between potential investors and suitable suppliers, firms, associations and public sector institutions, and provide prospective investors with in-depth dossiers about industry sectors.

The Directorate also organizes seminars directed at the investment community and publishes quarterly Investment News Spain magazine.

The General Direction for International Economic Relations (Relaciones Económicas Internacionales REI) , in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is responsible for the coordination between government ministries involved in the promotion of foreign investment.

The Governments of the Autonomous Communities of Spain also have individual investment agencies. Contact details are available on the Investinspain website. The Directorate can also provide additional information specific to individual inquiries.

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Industry Associations

Spanish Chamber of Commerce

The Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Australia has been operating for over 25 years, and is committed to strengthening the trade and investment flows between Australia and Spain, but with particular emphasis on Spanish trade and investment into Australia.

The Chamber works closely with the Spanish Government Commercial Office, as well as with many other organisations that are interested in strengthening the commercial relationship between the two countries. Activities undertaken by the Chamber include the organisation of inbound trade missions, seminars and workshops on doing business with Spain, the distribution of timely information about the Spanish and Australian markets, and the answering of trade-related enquiries.

The Chamber's membership, drawn from throughout Australia, has access to the full support services of the Chamber. To keep members and other interested persons informed of the developments taking place in Spain and within the Chamber, the Chamber publishes monthly newsletter that is distributed to over 2000 organizations and individuals.

In Spain, all businesses are required to belong to a Chamber of Commerce. Every Chamber of Commerce, and thus every business in Spain, is dr wn together under the Consejo Superior de Cámaras (the High Council of Chambers of Commerce) , which is based in Madrid. The Consejo Superior actively promotes international trade and has English-speaking officers responsible for the Asia Pacific, willing to assist in the development of bilateral trade. They can assist for example in the organisation of meetings of relevant business groups, trade promotion functions, and the provision of contact details for industry groups.

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Australia Spain Business Association (ASBA)

ASBA was formed in 1993. The association aims to promote economic and commercial relations between Australia and Spain, as well as providing assistance to Australian businesses undertaking activities in Spain, and Spanish companies undertaking business in Australia. The association also provides a forum for business people who are interested in Australia and Spain, with meetings or seminars organised approximately every two months to permit the exchange of information and ideas. The ASBA currently has around 45 members, including Australian companies operating in or trading with Spain, Spanish companies operating in or trading with Australia, as well as Australians resident in Spain and Spaniards or other nationals who have resided in or travelled to Australia.

On line: ASBA

Doing business in Spain contents