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Spain
Geography & Location
Spain is the second largest country in the EU. The territory of Spain covers most of the Iberian Peninsula; which it shares with Portugal and also includes the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean, the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean, and the North African cities of Ceuta and Melilla.

In the north it is bordered by the Cantabrian Sea, France and Andorra; in the east and south-east by the Mediterranean; in the south by the Straits of Gibraltar; in the south-east by the Atlantic; in the west by Portugal and in the north-east by the Atlantic.

Climate
The temperate in Spain is clear, hot summers in the interior, more moderate and cloudy along the coast, cloudy, cold winters in the interior, partly cloudy and cool along the coast.

Terrain
The terrain of Spain described as large, flat to dissected plateau surrounded by rugged hills; Pyrenees in the north.


Natural hazards

Periodic droughts

Time Zones
Spain is one hour ahead of London time, with the exception of the Canary Island, which is in the same time zone as London.

Language
Castilian Spanish 74%, Catalan 17%, Galician 7%, Basque 2%
Spanish is the official language, which is used along with other official regional languages, such as Catalan, Basque, Galician and Valencian in their respective autonomous communities. English is the main foreign language studied at school.


Population

39,167,744 (July 1999 est.)

Age structure
0-14 years: 15% (male 3,012,907; female 2,835,455)
15-64 years: 68% (male 13,411,046; female 13,406,216)
65 years and over: 17% (male 2,702,654; female 3,799,468) (1999 est.)

Currency
1 peseta (Pta) = 100 centimos

Economic System
Spain is very dynamic country and has achieved high economic growth rates surpassing the average of other industrialized countries. Sixty million tourists visit the country each year. International organizations recognize and endorse the improvement in the Spanish economy, as the country shows a projected GDP growth of 3.7 percent for 1998.
The operations in the Spanish financial system can be classified as follows: The Bank of Spain, :Banco de Espana,” is the central issuing bank. It implements the monetary and exchange policy set forth by the Government and provides payment services with respect to the national debt.
Around 50 foreign banks have offices in Spain.

Stock market
There are four stock exchanges in Spin; the largest is Madrid and the others are located in Barcelona, Valencia and Bilbao. The Spanish stock exchanges are characterized over the long run by strong steady growth in share price.

Money Market
The money market is based fundamentally on the issuance of short-term securities by the Bank of Spain, which are taken up by banks, finance companies and money market operators that place a portion of them with individuals and corporations with cash surpluses for short-term investment. In a broader sense, the money market also covers inter-bank deposits. Interest rates on such deposits are as a benchmark for other transactions and trading in short-term corparate securities (although these are dealt with through stock exchanges).
The money market has become increasingly important as a result of the liberalization and greater flexibility of the Spanish financial system. This is evident from the fact that interest rates are ordinarily higher than the inflation rate and from the substantial volume of trading in money market securities. The Government debt market is important in Spain and used by both resident and foreign investors. Favorable tax arrangements for investments by non-residents in these securities make this market attractive.

Transportation
Railways: total 15,079 km
Highways: total 346,858 km
Paved: 343,389 km
Unpaved: 3,469 km
Waterways: 1,045 km
Ports and harbors: Aviles, Barceluna, Bilbao, Cadiz, Cartagena, Castellon de la Plana, Ceuta, Huelua, La Coruna, Las Palmas (Canary Islands), Malaga, Melilla, Pasajes, Gijon, Santa Cruz de Tenerif (Canry Islands), Santander, Tarragona, Valencia, Vigo


Airports
99 (1998 est.)

Political System
Spain’s government type is parliamentary monarchy. Spain has three different levels of government, municipal governments, autonomous communities, and the central government.
Spaniards can boast of having one of the best lifestyles in Europe or for that matter, in the world. It is the sunniest country in Europe and its climate is ranked among the healthiest in the world according to the World Health Organization. Spain’s excellent quality of life has been widely recognized by the media, and in particular a recent study by The Economist ranked Spain as third in the world in terms of social, political, cultural, and economic factors. Over four thousand kilometers of beaches, abundant sport and social opportunities are combined with a diverse cultural heritage painted by the Celts, Romans, and Arabs.
Spain is a very