23 may 2019


The event was opened by the Argentine President, Mauricio Macri and the Production and Labour Minister, Dante Sica.

The permanent secretary of the CEIB and director general of CEOE International, Narciso Casado, participated together with the former Secretary of State of Commerce, Jaime García-Legaz, to talk about "exporting as a model of economic development. A conversation about the Spanish exporting experience", at the Argentina Exporta 2019 Forum, which is taking place right now in Buenos Aires. The conference was opened by the Argentine President, Mauricio Macri and the country’s Production and Labour Minister, Dante Sica. Other attendants included representatives from the Spanish Embassy to Argentina and the Spanish Chamber of Commerce to the Latin American country. The event also brought together experts, companies and entrepreneurs with the aim of strengthening the export sector and the international incorporation of SMEs.

Foro Argentina Exporta
Foro Argentina Exporta

CEOE and the internationalization of the company

During the event on exporting as a business model, Casado highlighted the significant support role carried out from CEOE and its member organizations for the internationalization of companies. He indicated that the Business Confederation contributes to the definition of policies, measures and instruments designed to boost the presence of Spanish companies abroad and the goal is for these exporting-support policies to take into account the needs of companies.  Likewise, "we try to ensure that the interests of entrepreneurs are taken into account in trade agreements to guarantee better access of our products, services and investments to foreign markets," he said.

The permanent secretary of the CEIB explained that CEOE organizes every year more than 170 international activities and numerous business meetings with representatives from foreign companies, economic institutions and governments in order to raise awareness of the business opportunities offered by the different countries, as well as to encourage contacts between businessmen and representatives from government and economic institutions. In this regard, CEOE also organizes business delegations abroad so that our companies may learn, first-hand, about the business opportunities in foreign markets and to enable contacts with representatives from economic institutions and entrepreneurs in these countries.

In addition, Casado said that many of the sector organizations also carry out promotional activities in their respective areas of activity, through participation in fairs and organizing delegations. On the other hand, our territorial organizations collaborate closely with the regional chambers of commerce and regional governments, both in establishing as well as in developing the regional internationalization plans. "We organize various information sessions on new policies that influence the internationalization of companies, as well as their sustainability, and most importantly, those measures, instruments and aids that make it easier for our companies to expand abroad" he said.


General context of Spanish exports

The director of CEOE International highlighted that the export of goods and services in Spain has gone from 25.3% to 34.2%, the number of exporting companies from 66,278 to 204,196 (in 2018) and the number of companies that export regularly increased from 39,641 to 51,788. These figures, he said, highlight the dynamism of the export sector, which has helped boost the recovery of the Spanish economy and enabled it to return to positive growth rates and reduce our trade deficit of goods, so that there has been a positive external trade balance for the sixth consecutive year (since 2013); and turn it into one of the main sources of employment, with 5,000,000 jobs derived from exports. Therefore, "this change is not just a consequence of the ongoing efforts of the Secretary of State for Commerce, CEOE and ICEX to support companies in their internationalization, but also the result of a deep cultural change in how many of them are managed," he said.


Analysis of the exporting sector

Casado reported that sectors such as capital goods, automotive, chemistry and agri-food represent the most important export sectors for the Spanish economy. According to data from 2016, 93.3% of export companies are small and medium-sized: 113,899 are micro-SMEs, 32,175 are small and 8,882 are medium-sized. The larger companies, which represent 6.7% of the exporting companies, account for more than 50% of our exports, which are, therefore, very concentrated in a small number of companies.

Casado also explained that 54.1% of exports can be categorized, due to their technological content, in the high and medium-high segments; and, by regions, 65% still have as destination other EU countries, 10.7% America, 9.25% Asia, 6.5% Africa, 5.7% the rest of Europe and 0.7% Oceania.



The permanent secretary of the CEIB stressed that CEOE must continue working with the Secretary of State, ICEX and the Spanish Chamber of Commerce to improve the fundamentals of the export sector. To this end, he said that it is necessary to expand the export base, by incorporating new companies and, most importantly, SMEs into the internationalization process. He also suggested increasing the average size of Spanish export companies; diversifying the geographical destination of exports, still very concentrated on other EU countries; and increasing the weight of export of goods in medium and high-end technology segments.


Casado also considered it necessary to support the tourism sector, reinforcing the offer, diversifying the origin, improving the quality of services and taking better advantage of the driving effect of tourist investment abroad across our economy as a whole. In this sense, he also talked about reinforcing the presence of non-tourist services, as well as professionals, transport or logistics services, which exceed tourism revenues.

Finally, CEOE highlighted the Action Plan for the Internationalization of the Spanish Economy for 2019 and 2020, which aims to develop a series of actions within the framework of the Strategy for the Spanish Economy 2017-2027 around six fields of action: access to markets; innovation, technology, brand and digitalization; development of human capital; improvement in the use of business opportunities; attracting and retaining foreign investment, and complementary coordination of the actions of all actors.


Bilateral meetings

The permanent secretary of the CEIB and director general of CEOE International, Narciso Casado, will hold meetings with representatives from official Argentine governmental institutions and business organizations such as the UIA. The last meeting, to be held on Friday 24, will be attended by the UIA’s Executive Committee Member and director of Social Policy, Daniel Funes de Rioja, among others.

During the meeting, issues such as the celebration of various events in the near future will be addressed, including the VIII Business Forum on Innovation and Sustainability on May 29 at CEOE; the III Latin American Forum of MSMEs on July 2 and 3 in Buenos Aires, and the Ibero-American Summit in November 2020 in Andorra.