According to UNCTAD's 2015 World Investment Report, Spain is ranked 12th in the world for foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows. Spain received FDI inflows of USD23 billion in 2014.
Spain ranked 33rd in the World Bank's 2016 Doing Business rankings, moving up one place from 34th in the year prior. The ranking recognised reforms enacted by Spain to make doing business easier in the country. This included strengthening minority investor protection by requiring major sales of company assets to be subject to shareholder approval. Spain also made paying taxes less costly by reducing rates for corporate income, capital gains and environment taxes and made it easier by introducing an online system for filing VAT returns.
Key facts about starting a business in Spain:
While investing in Spain is a transparent and largely straightforward process, it is important to understand the nuances of any local regime. The manner in which people conduct business in Spain may differ from the home countries of investors. Furthermore, variations on these distinctions may exist in different regions of Spain and the industry in which a company operates.
Spain's official language is Spanish. However, Basque, Catalan, Galician and Occitan are recognised as co-official languages in certain regions.
In Spain, hierarchy and status are valued. The Spanish also place high importance on appearance. Business attire is typically conservative; nevertheless, this may vary across different industries.
A handshake is the typical greeting for a new introduction and business cards may be exchanged after initial introductions. Gift giving is not expected in Spanish business culture.
Those looking to establish a business in Spain will often look to countries across the European Union (EU) as alternative options. While membership of the EU ensures parity in many aspects of the legal, Tax and Audit regimes, Spain can be differentiated on the following factors:
Although there are many benefits of investing in Spain, foreign investors should remain aware of potential challenges. There is a high degree of devolution of powers to the country's 17 autonomous regions. This contributes to a complexity in regulation and can be a hindrance to foreign investment.
This guide has been developed to provide businesses with an overview of Spain, its legal regime, start-up and market entry considerations, tax and customs requirements and a general summary of the factors that may affect the decision to do business in Spain. However, the information contained in this document is generic in nature and you should not act or rely on it without obtaining specific professional advice.
Please note that the Country Guides may only be available in English.
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