Catalan Foreign Trade 2012

June 2013.- Catalonia’s foreign sector has shown an impeccable trajectory the last decade, with a more than 50% increase of its exports during the period 2003-2012, whilst imports only increased by half that share, 25%. As a result, the coverage ratio (Exports/Imports) has soared from 69% in 2003 to almost 85% in 2012, thus showing a steady trend towards the full coverage.

Foreign Trade

The positive trend of the Catalan’s foreign sector, out of necessity due to the current context of a shrinking local market, is also root of Spain’s good performance in this same period, which increased its coverage ratio by almost 20%, reaching 88% last year. In this sense, data for March 2013 shows that Spain’s ratio has already been positive for the first time in 42 years, whereas that of Catalonia is following the positive trend with almost 90%. All in all, Catalonia’s is far ahead within the Spanish State in the trade-to-GDP ratio, 15% higher than Spain’s, with a value of 60% of its imports + exports in relation to its regional GDP.


Countries and sectors

Where it not for its lack of natural resources, and specially oil, Catalonia would currently run a trade surplus. In fact, 20% of Catalonia’s imports in 2012, with a value of more than 13 billion euro, where mainly feedstock for the Chemical sector. In this sense it is worth to highlight that Catalonia has a trade surplus in Medium-High Technology goods, in which it accounts for 33% of Spanish exports. As for the exports segments, Industrial technology and Chemical goods have a share each of 20%, followed by Environment and energy production (14%) and Clothing (almost 11%). Other relevant export sectors are Habitat, Ancillary mechanical and construction industry, Bakery and other products and ICT.

Finally, another remarkable fact on Catalonia is the diversification of its exports: hence, in spite the first 6 destination countries are from Western Europe, gathering half of the total exports, North America accounts now more than 5%, and regions such as North Africa, the Far East or South America account for a significant 4% each, approximately.

Source: Own elaboration based on data from ESTACOM/ICEX. Available at:,10304,5518394_6764863_6735919_0_0_-1,00.html

Catalan exports

A remarkable fact on Catalan foreign trade a is the geographical diversification of its exports.

Catalonia has a trade surplus in medium-high technology goods, in which it accounts for 33% of Spanish exports.

Catalonia in Business