Trading with the Spain as an SME

Top tips for starting to trade with Spain.

Bordering France and Portugal, Spain has a population of almost 50 million, providing a substantial consumer base for exporters (IMF, 2019). Other attractions for exporters are Spain’s existing exposure to British products, links with Latin America and efficient transportation network.

Leading trading partner

In 2019, UK exports to Spain totalled £18 billion, making the country Britain’s 7th largest trading partner. Year on year exports to Spain increased 1.4% that year, indicative of growing demand for UK exports.

‍Sector specific demand

In the year 2019, the automotive, pharmaceutical and consumer goods industries had the highest levels of imports to Spain (ONS). The most popular UK service exports to Spain in the same year were financial services, travel, business services and software.

‍Exporting to Spain


Since the 1st January 2021, UK exports to Europe hare zero rated for UK VAT, but country charges still apply. The standard VAT rate for products in Spain is 21%, but certain products incur a reduced VAT rate of 10%.

Payment terms

Since Spain’s economy is heavily reliant on sectors affected by the pandemic (tourism represents 14% of GDP, automotive 11%), payment terms should be contractual and sensitive to customer credit risk.

Routes to market

Due to Spain’s geographical size and multiple business languages, it may be advisable to seek local distribution partners. E-commerce also represents a lower risk entry point to this market, since transport to Spain is relatively straightforward.

Fast Facts

Ease of doing business

30th / 190 countries (World Bank, 2019)



Business language


Economic growth

2.0% (2019, IMF)

GDP per capita

£22,328 (IMF, 2018)

Time zone

GMT +1

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