Investment Opportunities in Spain

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Protection of Foreign Investment

Bilateral Investment Conventions Signed By Spain
Spain has signed bilateral agreements with more than fifty countries. 47 agreements can be downloaded from the website of UNCTAD: click here to download these agreements. They define the framework for foreign investment protection in Spain for each of the signatory countries.
Organizations Offering Their Assistance in Case of Disagreement
ICCWBO , International court of arbitration, International chamber of commerce
ICSID , International Center for settlement of Investment Disputes
Member of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency
Spain has signed the MIGA convention.

Country Comparison For the Protection of Investors

  Spain OECD United States Germany
Index of Transaction Transparency* 5.0 6.0 7.0 5.0
Index of Manager’s Responsibility** 6.0 5.2 9.0 5.0
Index of Shareholders’ Power*** 4.0 6.8 9.0 5.0
Index of Investor Protection**** 5.0 6.0 8.3 5.0

Source: Doing Business

Note: *The Greater the Index, the More Transparent the Conditions of Transactions. **The Greater the Index, the More the Manager is Personally Responsible. *** The Greater the Index, the Easier it Will Be For Shareholders to Take Legal Action. **** The Greater the Index, the Higher the Level of Investor Protection.

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Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment

Freedom of Establishment
Acquisition of Holdings
The acquisition of majority interest by a foreign company in a Spanish company is authorized provided that the business is not in the regulated sector of production and trade of weapons.
Obligation to Declare
Investment portfolios from an EU member state are exempt from all declarations whatever their amount. Direct investments can require a prior declaration, when the investment amount or the granted loans exceed 30,000 Euros for a foreign interest holding higher than 50%. The request is to be made with the Register of Foreign Investments, from the Directorate General of Commercial Policies and Foreign Investments (DGPCIE).
Competent Organization For the Declaration
Sub-secretary of state for Commerce
Requests For Specific Authorizations
Find Investment Service Providers in Spain on

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Office Real Estate and Land Ownership

Possible Temporary Solutions
There are several of them: the domiciliation of the company in the private residence of the manager, domiciliation in a business center, hosting in shift workshops, company backbones as well as renting of professional sites.
The Possibility of Buying Land and Industrial and Commercial Buildings
Risk of Expropriation
Legislation practically prohibits the nationalization or expropriation of foreign investments.

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Investment Aid

Forms of Aid
Employment aid ( Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs), special government grants, credits.
In parallel to the government aids, each of the 17 autonomous communities have their own system of incentives. The investors must approach the regional authorities of the place of establishment to benefit from these aids as well as the community aids (especially for the depressed areas).
Privileged Domains
Job creation, training, research and development, renewable energies, tourism sector, broadcasting sector. The preferred sectors are TIC, renewable energies and environment.
Privileged Geographical Zones
Special aids are granted to companies investing in regions which are lagging behind in economic development (3/4th of the territory). There are community aids as in support provided by the European Union in the least favored regions.
The regions concerned by the European FEDER program,
Free Zones
The free zones of Spain.
Organizations Which Finance
To learn about all the aids for investment, search the database of the investment promotion agency.

The EU via FEDER.
The Official Credits Institute (ICO),
Le Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Commerce.
The governments of the regions and municipalities also finance the incentives for foreign investments.

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Investment Opportunities

The Key Sectors of the National Economy
Chemical industry, automobile, naval construction, textile and leather industry, paper manufacturing.
High Potential Sectors
The website Invest in Spain suggests a range of investment opportunities. Regional websites also propose other opportunities ( Invest in Asturias, Andalucia, etc.). In Andalucia, investments considered as offshore are possible not far from Gibraltar taking advantage of favorable tax regulations.

In the energy sector, the government plan for renewable energies represent an opportunity for investments in technological innovation. The biotechnology sector has developed four times faster in Spain than any other countries of the EU. The investments in this sector exceed 25% per year, making Spain the fourth biggest contributor of the world in scientific production in the biotechnology sector. According to the Spanish Institute for External Trade, the chemical, pharmaceutical and plastics industry represent real investment opportunities.

Spain has become one of the most attractive destinations for call-centers. It has attracted several multinationals ( Avis, Hewlett-Packard, Citigroup, etc.) thanks to a labor cost 30% less expensive than in other European countries. R&D in the Information Technology (IT) and data processing (software development, artificial intelligence, supercomputers, etc.) is also one of the spearheads of Spain. A center for the development of technological industry to encourage technological research in Spain exists since 2006. In fact, many real-estate investments are going to be made on the Costa del Sol, Costa de la Luz, Costa Tropical, Costa Almeria especially for developing infrastructures for tourism.
Privatization Programs
Tenders, Projects and Public Procurement
Visionnetware, Competitions and Tenders
Ted - Tenders Electronic daily, Business opportunities in EU 27
Globaltenders, Tenders & Projects from Spain
Tenders Info, Tenders in Spain
DgMarket, Tenders Worldwide

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Sectors Where Investment Opportunities Are Fewer

Monopolistic Sectors
Sectors in Decline
Textile, agriculture.


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    A. The government of Spain recognizes the value of foreign investment and the economic importance of attracting more. There have been no significant changes in Spain's regulations for investment and foreign exchange under either the Socialist Party (PSOE) government that took office in March 2004 and was re-elected...

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