Port of Barcelona

Economy

Catalonia enjoys a strategic geographical position on the Mediterranean coast and has an economy open to business and to the world at large. The combination of talents in a dynamic entrepreneurial climate offers new companies and their staff competitive advantages, and offers one of the most attractive Mediterranean life-styles in southern Europe.

Having excellent transport systems, Catalonia is the ideal bridge between Europe, Latin America, Northern Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Barcelona is one of the few cities in southern Europe with fully-integrated intermodal transport (ports, airports, motorways, railways) in a 12-kilometer-wide radius, each one of those means having global connectivity.

Exports are becoming consolidated as one of the pillars of the Catalan economy. According to data of the Secretaria d’Estat de Comerç (State Secretariat of Commerce), Catalan exports grew by 5.7% in 2012 and are at the forefront of the volume of sales made outside the Spanish State, constituting in fact 26.2% of total Spanish exports.

In 2012, 60% of the growth of regular exporting firms in the whole Spanish State corresponded to enterprises in Catalonia.

In regard to foreign investment, Catalonia, according to Ernst & Young’s European Investment Monitor ranking, attained third place in 2011 among the European regions attracting the greatest volume of investment projects, a position behind that of Greater London and the Île de France only.

Of the overseas firms established in Spain, 31.13% are in Catalonia (Invest in Catalonia 2010). The more than 3,000 foreign enterprises operating in Catalonia proceed from numerous countries, among which are of special note France (25%), Germany (19%), Italy (13%), USA (14%), the Netherlands (7%), Japan (5%), and the United Kingdom (5%). Of these enterprises, 40% have been present in Catalonia for more than 10 years, a fact that demonstrates the high degree of stability, satisfaction, and profitability experienced by foreign firms.

Catalonia is a talented and creative country, one with ideas that never cease to surprise. Catalans are entrepreneurs in any given sphere: business, culture, sport, gastronomy, and science, to name but a few. Ferran Adrià in gastronomy, Gaudí and Oriol Bohigas in architecture, Dalí, Miró, and Tàpies in art, Valentí Fuster in medicine, Pep Guardiola in sport, and so on. There exists here a powerful culture of effort.

Both the public and the private sectors have made innovation a priority for the Catalan government, which actively supports R+D programmes. The business sector finances 55.4% of total R+D costs (a proportion above both the Spanish average of 45.0% and that of the European Union, 54.8%). Although it is a small country, Catalonia is the source of 1% of the scientific production of the world.

In respect of competitiveness, Catalonia, according to the IED magazine of the Financial Times, is at the top of the ranking of Southern European regions, with “the best economic perspectives” in terms of business climate, potentialities, human resources, infrastructure, investment incentives, and living standards.

The quality of life around the Mediterranean is beyond question, and in this regard Catalonia is able, furthermore, to combine work with pleasure in the right measure and balance. The beaches, the Pyrenees, the traditional fresh-produce markets, the local cuisine combined with modern trends, and Barcelona as a cosmopolitan capital, make Catalonia into an excellent choice.

Last updated: 12 September 2016

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