Legislation in both EU and Spain is pushing the market towards a new, green, digital era. With a record high 140 billion euros, Spain will be the recipient of the second-highest amount in the EU’s public investment by 2026.
Major focus areas are on investments in strategic sectors such as the automotive industry, information and communications technologies (ICT) and digitalisation of the public and private sectors. Green transition, such as in a circular economy and energy transition, plays an important role as well. The national strategic priorities are the so-called PERTES or large-scale innovative projects. PERTES provide the momentum for high-technology companies to explore new business opportunities in Spain.
Is your company striving for bold growth and renewal in the international market? Are you willing to learn a new business culture, explore the best market entry for your business case and take the time needed to search for relevant alliances to enter the market? Today, the strategic sectors for investing in Spain include Automotive (smart mobility, batteries), Infrastructure (ports and railways), Digitalisation (administration, eHealth, EdTech), ICT (5G, cybersecurity), Energy (hydrogen, smart/flexible grids, energy efficiency, solar and wind), Water Management and Biotechnology/Pharma.
FINNISH AND SPANISH TRADE FACTS (2020)
- Total trade of € 1,991 million, which was distributed between € 968 million in exports from Spain to Finland and € 1,023 million in exports from Finland to Spain.
- The bilateral trade surplus stood at € 55 million, compared to the € 453 million surplus in 2019.
- Spain represents 3% of total Finnish exports and is among the top 10 European partners.
- Most exported products to Spain: paper, paperboard, pulp products, heavy machinery, minerals, electric appliances, chemical products, cars and refined oil.
The research, development and innovation (RD&I) activities in these strategic sectors will be partly actualised in different programmes. The most important EU support programme is the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF). The aim is to mitigate the economic and social impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic and make European economies and societies more sustainable and better prepared for the green and digital transitions. Spain is the recipient of the second-highest gross investment amount in the EU: 140 billion euros in public investment until 2026, with a significant concentration of investment and reforms in the first phase of the NextGenerationEU (NGEU) package, covering the period from 2021 to 2023. Spain will receive 69.5 billion euros in grants and up to 70 billion euros in loans from the RRF. Spain has requested receipt of the grants, but not the loans, by January 2022.
Spain has already received a payment of 9 billion euros in pre-financing. The Spanish government will distribute these funds via the Strategic Projects for Economic Recovery and Transformation, known as “PERTES” in Spanish. Those PERTES that had been approved by December 2021 were related to eHealth, smart mobility and green transition. These PERTES projects are the ones to which Finnish companies should pay attention.
Business Finland in Madrid supports companies with an internationalisation strategy
Business Finland in Madrid supports Finnish growth companies through its internationalisation strategies in the Iberian Peninsula: Spain, Portugal and Andorra. We have three experts in our team: two are focused on export promotion and one is dedicated to promoting Finland as a tourist destination via VisitFinland. Our focus sectors are Digitalisation, Energy and Bio & Circular Economy.
Why should Finnish companies be interested in Spain?
Both EU and Spanish legislation will push the economy into a new, green, digital era. Coupled with these laws and future roadmaps, there are both EU-level and national investment plans in place to achieve these goals. Never before has there been such an investment plan. In addition, there is a change of paradigm in Spanish business culture: innovation is no longer taken lightly, and companies are opening their own departments to find other streams of income.
How can Finnish companies benefit from RRFs?
The best way for Finnish companies to seize the opportunity provided by RRFs is by subcontracting with local actors. Some of the relevant business possibilities are in the energy sector, with its transition to sustainable energy, and in the manufacturing sector, with its electrification and efficiency improvement. Also, digitalisation of the economy will lead the business agenda in the coming years.
“Spain has ambitious plans in digital green transition and there is a huge interest towards Finnish solutions. Regarding the EU-funded projects and other public investments, the year 2022 is crucial in Spain, and the Spanish economy is expected to grow above the EU average. The moment for Finnish companies to look for partnerships is right now.” Sari Rautio, Ambassador of Finland to Spain
“Spain is a multilevel, complex business country where it requires time and effort to get business done and deals closed. Our advice is to try and find alliances with relevant stakeholders. The main reason is that large companies are the ones open to making technology investments as well as exploring innovation opportunities.” Guillermo Solano
How can companies in Oulu start exploring the new market opportunities in Spain?
Business Oulu, the economic development organisation of the City of Oulu, offers services to companies that wish to enter global markets. These are the steps to follow:
- Companies reply to the Spanish Market Survey if they are interested in this market or are already doing business there. The survey is open until March 18th, 2022.
- Companies participate in our World Business Webinar: Why Spain? which is a market introduction. The webinar is free of charge and in English, on Wednesday, February 23rd, at 11:00 Finnish time. Link to registration.
- Five high-technology companies can take part in our delegation visit to Madrid in June 2022.
Concrete business possibilities can be well-explored by current project examples that are related to hydrogen, smart cities, green mobility, healthcare and ports. We are happy to discuss these projects with companies in more detail.
Current project examples
Advisor, Exports, Business Finland, Madrid
Tel: +34 667 869 645
Senior Advisor, Exports, Business Finland, Madrid
Tel: +34 603 645 130
Advisor on International Affairs, BusinessOulu
Tel: +358 50 432 8873
Senior Advisor, Business Development, OAC - Oulu Automotive Cluster, BusinessOulu
Tel: +358 40 773 8414
This article was written in collaboration with the Export Cooperation Sweden-Finland project, the Oulu Automotive Cluster and the Business Finland Madrid office. The activities in Spain are supported by the Export Cooperation Sweden-Finland project and the Oulu Automotive Cluster, and funded by Interreg Nord, the Regional Council of Lapland, Tillväxtverket and Region Norrbotten.