chapter  2
Spain’s external insertion
Peripheral or not?
ByManuel Gracia, María José Paz
Pages 28

The main objective of this chapter is to analyze the evolution of the external insertion, in terms of both trade and production, of the Spanish economy in order to evaluate the persistence of structural weaknesses. Despite a very significant increase in foreign direct investment outflows, the Spanish economy remains dependent on foreign capital in those manufacturing sectors with the highest technological intensity and export orientation. These are precisely the sectors most integrated into production chains, the European partners being their main customers and suppliers. Import dependence on inputs and technology continues to be strong, while the generation of trade surplus has been left to primary sectors and, following the crisis, to the automotive sector. The growth of extra-EU exports remains too weak to balance the importance of intra-EU trade. This scenario works against an export-based strategy for economic recovery because changes experienced since the crisis have hidden a deepening of dynamics already at play, rather than fostering significant modifications to the main elements of Spain’s external insertion pattern.