Spain sector report – Chemical products

Executive summary

In 2020, Spain's chemical sector accounted for 5.5% of their national gross domestic product (GDP) and 13.4% of the industrial GDP Footnote 1 . The total revenue of the sector was 64.519 billion euros, from which 36.57 billion were exported in 2020. Export sales turnover by the chemical sector makes up 15.8% of the total turnover. Plastics raw materials (€ 10 billion), perfumes and cosmetics (€9.3 billion) and organic chemistry (€8.5 billion) lead the sector's sales turnover accumulating 36.6% of total turnover.

Althoug sector was one of the best performers over the COVID-19 economic crisis, it was also directly affected by the collapse of two of its main demanding sectors, automotive and construction. This impact resulted in a sales turnover decrease of -2.9%, amounting to 64.5 billion euros, which in the case of exports rose to -6.1% (36.6 billion euros). The chemical sector accumulated 34% revenue growth from 2007 until 2019.

The chemical industry is the second largest exporter sector in the Spanish economy, and the first industrial investor in R&D and innovation. The sector is one of the most predominant industries in the country and plays a role in all manufacturing industries value chains; in fact, 98% of productive activities in Spain require chemistry at some point. More than 2.8 billion Euros were spent in R&D and innovation in 2019, accounting for 25% of private investment in this area in Spain. In addition, 1 in 5 private sector researches are employed by the sector.

In 2020, consumption of chemical products in Spain was 73.1 billion euros, approximately 25% in accumulated growth since 2007. In 2019, per capita expenditure in chemical products was €1,529, an increase of 0.8% compared to 2018. 

Concerning bilateral trade between Spain and Canada, the chemical sector has been one of the most benefited from the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). Exports of Canadian organic chemicals to Spain have increased by 59.6% from 2016 to 2020, with 1.7 billion euros exported in 2020. The following table shows how Canadian exports and imports of chemicals products to Spain have been growing steadily since 2017 (value in thousands of Canadian dollars):

Canadian exports to Spain59,13359,71574,28798,289149,373
Canadian imports from Spain177,835234,857190,622223,251231,795

The subsectors offering opportunities that are more relevant for Canadian chemical companies are:

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