The weakness of Spain’s exports industry: we need more high-technology investment


Spain is a country which has managed to export 33% of its GDP, and yet this has not produced high salaries. Why is that? Because what we export, like almost everything we manufacture, is the result of very low productivity compared with other countries, as we can see in the graphic. It shows high-technology exports as a percentage of total exports.



 Of its total exports, Spain only sells 5% of high-technology products overseas, or 1.65% of GDP. It’s in the respectable company of Bulgaria, Greece, Portugal, Serbia and Turkey. As can be seen, Ireland, a country “on a par with” with ours is at the top of the list, with high-technology exports representing almost 25% of the total.

Naturally, this is closely linked to our low salaries. But what comes first, the chicken or the egg? Well, there are people who insist that salaries need to be raised first before the other issue can be sorted out. We need high-technology investment and for that to happen there has to be a stable social and economic base which attracts foreign investors until we are capable of “taking their place”.

Our success in the tourism industry is actually a trick, because it prevents us from seeing what our limits are. Tourism won’t drag us out of poverty and it should just be one sector more in the economy. Like it is in France, a country with a large skilled tourism industry, and one which also exports high value-added goods.

About the Author

Miguel Navascués
Miguel Navascués has worked as an economist at the Bank of Spain for 30 years, and focuses on international and monetary economics. He blogs in Spanish at: http://