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Spanish Crown Prince Felipe and his wife, Princess Letizia, arrived in Israel
Sunday evening on a two-day state visit to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the
establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. During their
visit they are to meet with local scientists to review Israel’s scientific
The political and cultural relations between the two
countries are important, and so are the economic and commercial ties. During the
past 25 years the commercial relations between the two countries increased
rapidly as both countries experienced high growth rates.]
Spain’s Crown Prince Felipe to pay first visit to Israel
bilateral trade totaled 1.69 billion euros, with 853 million euros of Israeli
exports to Spain and 836 million euros of imports from Spain. Spain exports a
significant amount of vehicles to Israel and imports Israeli technical goods and
Jose Ranero, the economic and commercial counselor at the
Spanish Embassy, said he was pleased with the progress of commercial relations
between Israel and Spain and is confident they will continue to
“The best way to increase trade is by joint projects, especially in
technology where we complement each other,” he said. “Spain can also serve as a
forward base for doing business with South America.”
Spain is an
excellent market for Israeli goods, especially hi-tech. Over the past four
decades Spain has achieved something of an economic miracle, as it transformed
itself from a rural, backward, agricultural country into a nation with a
diversified economy, strong manufacturing and service sectors, a vast tourist
industry and thriving agriculture. With gross domestic product of
$1.34.trillion, it is the European Union’s fifth-largest economy.
tend to believe that Spain developed economically after the death of dictator
General Francisco Franco in 1975. But the ground work for the economic
development of later years was laid in the Franco years, when average annual
economic growth rose by 7.0 percent.
Traditionally an agricultural
country, Spain produces large crops of wheat, sugar beets, barley, tomatoes,
olives, citrus fruit, grapes and cork. It is the world’s largest producer of
olive oil and Europe’s largest producer of lemons, oranges and
Spain is also a large producer of excellent wines. The
best-known wine regions are those of Rioja in the upper Ebro valley, Malaga and
Jerez de la Frontera. The agricultural sector is a good market for Israeli
irrigation products and agricultural machinery.
Spain also has a large
industrial base, and 33.3% of the workforce is employed in manufacturing. Cars
are Spain’s most prominent manufacturing industry, with more than 80% of its
It also produces textiles, iron, steel, chemicals and a
variety of consumer goods such as shoes, toys, food and
Tourism is also an important industry and a link between both
Spain’s Jewish past is an important attraction to locals. Over
the past four decades the Spanish tourist industry has become the second-biggest
in the world, with 50 million visitors a year. It brings in approximately 40
billion euros to the local economy, generates nearly 11% of the country’s GDP
and employs about 2 million of the total labor force.
Spain is a favorite
tourist destination for Israeli tourists. Last year, approximately 100,000
Israelis visited Spain.
Tourism has brought Spain mixed blessings. It is
a welcome source of foreign currency and finances part of the countries chronic
trade imbalance, but it has diverted capital investments from more stable
economic activities. The tourism industry is strongly influenced by seasonal
fluctuations, the whims of fashion and worldwide economic conditions.
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