Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Spanish exports are bright spark for economy

By Oliver Joy, CNN
September 6, 2013 -- Updated 0927 GMT (1727 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Spain's small businesses are being warned they must "export or die"
  • Many are turning to new markets to kickstart the eurozone's fourth largest economy
  • Eurostat calculates Spain's exports will rise 4.1% this year, after rising 2.1% in 2012

(CNN) -- Spain's small businesses are being warned they must "export or die" as the country remains mired in recession.

Spain -- the eurozone's fourth largest economy -- is suffering as the bloc's financial crisis drags into its fourth year.

Now, small businesses are looking to overseas markets in an effort to kick-start growth. Their efforts are showing up in official statistics: Eurostat calculates exports will rise 4.1% this year, after a 2.1% increase in 2012.

Eurostar boss: 'State of the art' fleet set to grow European rail market

Antonio Barroso, senior vice president at Teneo Intelligence, told CNN Spain's small and medium-sized businesses, known as SMEs, are being forced to look outward as domestic demand drops.

"I think exports are crucial for the Spanish recovery," Barroso said. "[SMEs] can potentially become one of the main engines of the Spanish economy."

Read more: Royal Delft: The Netherland's true blue pottery makers

Antonio Roldan, a European analyst at Eurasia Group, told CNN small businesses have no choice but to "export or die."

The country's exports are outpacing countries including Germany, Roldan noted, adding the country's lower labor costs have helped boost the industry.

The Port of Barcelona, in North East Spain, is one spot where the export drive can be seen. The Port is the country's third-largest container dock, behind Valencia and Algeciras, and handles imports and exports for nearly 3000 companies, representing a combined turnover of 300 billion euros [$393 billion].

Read more: Model trains and planes motor their way back home

Roldan said the port, through which a fifth of all Spanish external trade is channeled, has become a vital artery for the economy.

The Port employs over 13,000 people and claims on its website that for every two jobs it creates, three additional jobs are generated in the economy as a whole.

"Together with El Prat Airport [the transport hubs] make the largest trade pole in the South of Europe, Roldan said. "[The Port's] economic relevance has been increasing since the crisis started."

However, the SMEs remain only a small part of Spain's economy, Barrosso noted. "They are not enough: despite the significant increase in exports, they still only account for 33% of the Spanish GDP."

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
November 27, 2014 -- Updated 1521 GMT (2321 HKT)
The first human trial of an experimental Ebola vaccine has produced promising results, U.S. scientists said.
November 27, 2014 -- Updated 1415 GMT (2215 HKT)
Darren Wilson, the police officer who fatally shot unarmed black teen in August abandoned home after address made public.
November 25, 2014 -- Updated 2236 GMT (0636 HKT)
HBO -- backing a documentary based on "Going Clear," a book about Scientology and Hollywood -- isn't taking any chances with legal side.
November 26, 2014 -- Updated 1935 GMT (0335 HKT)
Grandmaster Nguyen Van Chieu has devoted his adult life to spreading the word about Vietnames martial art, Vovinam.
November 28, 2014 -- Updated 1847 GMT (0247 HKT)
England cricketer Nick Compton shares insight into "drive and courage" it takes to face fears as top batsman.
November 27, 2014 -- Updated 0059 GMT (0859 HKT)
Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson says he was just doing his "job right" when he shot and killed black teenager Michael Brown.
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 0118 GMT (0918 HKT)
The interior of the Formosa Boulevard Mass Rapid Transit Station in Kaohsiung, in southern Taiwan.
Stunning stations where your first priority won't be finding the nearest exit.
November 25, 2014 -- Updated 2318 GMT (0718 HKT)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says women's "nature is different," sparking fury.
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 1043 GMT (1843 HKT)
A 30-year-old woman has been charged with attempting to kill a baby police say spent five days down a drain before being discovered by cyclists.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 0121 GMT (0921 HKT)
If it wasn't for a comic's skit, Bill Cosby would still be America's favorite father, says expert.
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 0051 GMT (0851 HKT)
Where do hip young things hang out in Taiwan?
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 1550 GMT (2350 HKT)
Obama orders the most sweeping overhaul of U.S. immigration in decades, prioritizing the deportation of "felons, not families."
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 2106 GMT (0506 HKT)
Fighters loyal to ISIS are now in control of Derna, a city on Libya's Mediterranean coast.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 2319 GMT (0719 HKT)
China and likely other countries have the capacity to shut down the U.S. power grid, says the NSA.
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 1945 GMT (0345 HKT)
The founder of a U.S. nonprofit that works with returning soldiers is named CNN's Hero of the Year.
November 28, 2014 -- Updated 1754 GMT (0154 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT