Common Goals in Madrid

Germany Trade & Invest and the German-Spanish Chamber of Commerce complement their services in order to create business opportunities for German and Spanish companies in both countries. How exactly do they cooperate and what binds these two major euro economies together?

December, 2018

The German-Spanish Chamber of Commerce (AHK Spain) celebrated its 100th Anniversary 2017, while Germany Trade & Invest sent its first correspondent to Madrid 60 years ago. The two have been at the same address for a long time and the current renovations within the AHK are tending toward it becoming a co-working space. Markets Germany asked Miriam Neubert, head of GTAI Madrid and AHK Spain CEO Walther von Plettenberg what makes the Iberian peninsular country so interesting for Germany.

Mr. von Plettenberg, Spain fell into a deep recession during the global financial crisis, but is now recovering. How is the feeling about the economy at the moment?

Von Plettenberg: Positive. The domestic economy has shown three consecutive years of three percent-plus growth and is expected to grow more moderately but still robustly in 2018 and 2019. Many companies did not survive the recession, but the more competitive ones have managed to export their way out of the crisis. While the large companies have been active in Germany for a long time, more medium-sized companies are also muscling in on the action now. But at only 0.6 percent of all Spanish companies, this group is over four times smaller than in Germany.

Ms. Neubert, which industry in Germany is most interesting to Spanish companies right now?

Neubert: Those industries in which Spain is strong; renewable energies, for example. The energy company Iberdrola has invested €1.4bn in the Wikinger Offshore Windpark, close to the Island of Rügen in the Baltic Sea, and is developing its capacity further. The health industry is also interesting: Grifols, a top producer of plasma-based medicines, has spent €220m buying 35 German plasma-donation centers. The ties in the car industry are traditionally close as Spain is the second-largest car producer in Europe after Germany.

Working together to promote Spanish-German economic relations: Miriam Neubert, GTAI correspondent in Madrid since 2014 and Walther von Plettenberg, CEO of the German-Spanish Chamber of Commerce since 2010. © AHK Spanien

Is the “Made in Germany” brand significant in Spain as a mark of quality?

Neubert: Very much so. Germany is frequently a benchmark, not only for technology, reliability and efficiency, but also for its domestic assets such as the mid-sized manufacturers known as Mittelstand, its industrial strength and vocational education and training.

Von Plettenberg: This positive perception is backed up by the German companies operating in Spain due to their success and their long-term engagement.

How do the AHK Spain and GTAI support each other?

Von Plettenberg: The GTAI office provides comprehensive market reports, special sector analysis and actual economic data for Spain and Germany we can always rely on. AHK Spain advises German and Spanish clients, organizes bilateral entrepreneur meetings, promotes a German-Spanish startup ecosystem and implements vocational training.

Neubert: We coordinate our efforts. When interested parties come to our doors, our services complement each other. The latest example is an “Observatory” in which the AHK Spain publishes GTAI fact sheets in Spanish on interesting investment industries in Germany.