18 sep 2018
Informative APIE-CEOE breakfast on The Exporting Company


Micro-SMEs exported 11% of total exports; small companies, 14%; medium-sized, 24% and large companies, 51%

The Head of the Economic and European Affairs Department, Bernardo Aguilera, stated that in a context of uncertainty, both domestic and foreign, it is a must to continue to promote Spanish exports.  He said this during his talk at the presentation of CEOE’s report "Analysis of the Spanish export company by size”, during the informative breakfast jointly organized by APIE and CEOE, and held at CEOE’s headquarters.


Another conclusion included in the analysis, which was drafted on the basis of data from the Tax Agency for the 2010-2015 period (latest data available) is that, in terms of volume, micro-enterprises exported 11% of the total, small companies 14%, medium-sized 24%, and large companies were responsible for a little more than half of the total volume exported.

It also shows that only 3% of companies with less than 200 employees participate in the export sector, while more than half of those with more than 200 employees have clients abroad.

At the same time, the report highlights that among small and medium-sized enterprises, there are notable differences. Thus, of the total number of companies with up to 9 employees, only 2% export their goods or services, which is a figure that rises to 41% for medium-sized companies (50-200 employees).

Most companies focus their exports on a few countries. Thus, more than half only export to one country and 80% to two countries at most. As indicated in the study, this lack of diversification hinders their long-term international survival.


When analysing the different sectors we can see that SMEs are responsible for most of the exports corresponding to wholesale trade as well as in the food and beverages and tobacco sectors, especially many medium-sized companies. On the other hand, the large ones absorb most of the flows of the manufacturing export sector, which holds the greatest weight in total exports. In this area, it is important to highlight subsectors such as the automotive, chemical and pharmaceutical industries or the oil-refining sector.

On the other hand, the analysis emphasizes that the export sector played an essential role during the crisis and has kept growing in recent years. Thus, after the double-dip recession, GDP did not come back to 2008 levels until the second quarter of 2017. However, exports in 2017 were 31.8% higher than in 2008 in terms of volume, and 40.4% higher in nominal terms.

Historical maximum: 34% of GDP

This dynamism of the foreign sector meant that in 2017 it accounted for 34% of GDP, achieving the historical high. This growth in exports has allowed for a more balanced growth pattern and enabled five consecutive years of current account surplus.

CEOE’s report includes a statistical annex that shows data on trade relations, customers, suppliers, exports and imports by sector for countries such as France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, the United Kingdom, USA, Japan, Mexico, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa as well as for the EU as a whole


Over the course of the meeting, Bernardo Aguilera pointed out that coordinated actions for the internationalization of SMEs need to be promoted in order to achieve the participation of a larger critical mass of companies in the proposed initiatives. In this regard, he highlighted the importance of fostering greater information for SMEs and for these to be able to adapt to the existing tools in order to successfully face changing circumstances.