Part of complete coverage on
Spanish exports are bright spark for economy
September 6, 2013 -- Updated 0927 GMT (1727 HKT)
- 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."
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2245 GMT (0645 HKT)
Pakistan Taliban say the school attack was revenge for the killing of children in a military offensive -- but they are being pressed by defections to ISIS.
A group that claims it hacked Sony Pictures has posted a public threat against moviegoers who see Sony's "The Interview."
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0243 GMT (1043 HKT)
The gunman behind the deadly siege in Sydney this week was not on a security watch list, and Australia's Prime Minister wants to know why.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0948 GMT (1748 HKT)
Bestselling author Marjorie Liu had set her sights on being a lawyer, but realized it wasn't what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2027 GMT (0427 HKT)
CNN's Matthew Chance looks into an HRW report saying Russia has "legalized discrimination against LGBT people."
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0212 GMT (1012 HKT)
The Sydney siege has brought home some troubling truths to Australians. They are not immune to what are often called "lone-wolf" terror attacks.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0012 GMT (0812 HKT)
A social media campaign condemning Islamophobia under the hashtag #illridewithyou has taken off after Sydney hostage siege.
Bill Cosby has kept quiet as sexual assault allegations mounted against him, but his wife, Camille, finally spoke out in defense of her husband.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
China-bound AirAsia flight turns back to Bangkok after passenger throws water over crew member.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1026 GMT (1826 HKT)
It takes Nepalese eye doctor, Sanduk Ruit about five minutes to change someone's life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1054 GMT (1854 HKT)
This epic journey crosses 13,000 kilometers, eight countries over 21 days. Find out where.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 1431 GMT (2231 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.