Spain country brief

Spain (EU, OECD, HRC, NATO) and Australia have shared values, strong multilateral cooperation and growing levels of trade and investment.

Key engagement

Spain and Australia cooperate closely on defence. Key companies investing and operating in Australia include, Navantia, Acciona, Ferrovial, Iberdrola and CaixiBank.

Outlook

Trade and investment between Australia and Spain continues to grow, as do people-to-people links, including under the working holiday maker program.

Bilateral relations

Australia and Spain enjoy a significant and deepening bilateral relationship based on solid defence ties, growing commercial links and a shared commitment to the international rules based order. People-to-people links between Spain and Australia have been bolstered by the Work and Holiday visa arrangement. Trade and investment between Australia and Spain is solid and steadily expanding. The Australia-EU FTA (under negotiation) will provide further opportunities. Australia and Spain are deepening engagement on human rights issues following the successful election of both countries to the United Nations Human Rights Council (2018-2020).

Foreign policy

While Spain’s foreign policy traditionally focuses on the European Union (EU), the Mediterranean and Latin America, it is broadening its diplomatic and commercial presence in the Indo-Pacific. The Australian and Spanish Governments support growing trade and investment links by maintaining policy dialogue on areas of interest.

Australia’s foreign policy is guided by the Foreign Policy White Paper.

Fast Facts

  • Spanish visitors to Australia (2018/19) — 47,900
  • Australian visitors to Spain (2018/19) — 95,500
  • Resident Australian population born in Spain (2016 census) — 15,391
  • Australian residents of Spanish descent (2016 census) — 119,952
  • Spanish working holidaymakers (2018/19) — 2,286
  • Spanish students in Australia (2018) — 6,349

High level engagement

  • 2018 — Australia’s former Governor-General Cosgrove and former Minister for Regional Development McVeigh visited Spain
  • 2017 — Spain’s former Defence Minister de Cospedal visited Australia
  • 2014 — Spain’s former Prime Minister Rajoy attended the G20 Summit in Brisbane

Agreements with Italy

  • Arrangement Concerning Petroleum Stocks Contracts
  • Extradition Treaty
  • Treaty on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters
  • Agreement on Cultural, Educational and Scientific Cooperation
  • Double Taxation Agreement
  • Social Security Agreement
  • Air Services Agreement
  • Agreement for the Mutual Protection of Classified Information of Defence Interest
  • Defence Cooperation Memorandum of Understanding
  • Work and Holiday Visa Memorandum of Understanding

Public diplomacy

The Australian Embassy in Madrid manages a diverse public diplomacy program that encompasses art, sport and Indigenous heritage. Activities include contemporary Australian film festivals, designed to increase recognition of contemporary Australia in Spain by demonstrating Australia’s diversity and creativity. Without dubbing or subtitles, Australian cinema is largely inaccessible so this is an opportunity to reach Spain’s cinema attending public.

Australia also uses new media to promote Australian industries. The Australian Embassy has collaborated with large cultural festivals, including the Grec Festival in Barcelona, to have the Sydney Dance Company perform in Barcelona. The Embassy has also organised exhibitions of Indigenous art, including Yiwarra Kuju in Madrid, and the Sydney Conservatorium of Music Wind Symphony in order to create a more contemporary image of Australian arts and culture.

Australian Embassy in Madrid
Torre Espacio
Paseo de la Castellana, 259D, Planta 24
Madrid 28046
Tel: +34 91 353 6600
General: madrid.embassy@dfat.gov.au
Consular Services: consular.madrid@dfat.gov.au
Passports: madr.passports@dfat.gov.au

Economic diplomacy

The Australian Embassy in Madrid works with Austrade’s Madrid-based office to pursue Australia’s economic diplomacy agenda.
Spain was Australia’s 25th largest goods and services trading partner in 2018. Total two-way trade in 2018 was $4.2 billion, dominated by goods imports from Spain ($2.6 billion).

Australian investment in Spain is significant, with total stock valued at $7.1 billion in 2018. Spanish investment in Australia is valued at $1.1 billion. Major Spanish energy companies are active in Australia with a main focus on renewables. They range from mid-size players to global energy corporations. Spanish infrastructure companies are leading the way in infrastructure investment in Australia. 

More economic and trade information can be found in the Spain Country Fact Sheet.

Business

Spain is a member of the European Union (EU) and is subject to EU trade and regulatory requirements. Spain has global expertise across all five of Australia’s investment priorities in particular the major infrastructure, and resources and energy sectors where Spain is a key investor.  Australian companies in Spain also focus on the energy and resources sector. 

The Austrade State of the Markets 2017 report identified Spain as one of the fastest growing source markets and the fastest growing education market for Australia in Europe.

Austrade

Austrade’s Madrid Office aims to attract foreign direct investment into Australia, and promotes the Australian education sector.

Related links

Last Updated: 11 December 2019