The EU accounts for 72 percent of Spain's exports and 67 percent of imports, the most important trading partners being France and Germany (1998). The share of EU states involved in Spanish trade has grown in importance since Spain joined the EC/EU in 1986, reflective of the goals of the EC's Single European Act of 1986, which stressed completion of the internal market and decreasing
|Trade (expressed in billions of US$): Spain|
|SOURCE: International Monetary Fund. International Financial Statistics Yearbook 1999.|
trade barriers between member states. Spanish trade with Latin America (7 percent of exports, 4 percent of imports) is explainable through the historical connections between the countries. Imports from OPEC (5 percent) reflect Spain's dependence on imported petroleum. Fifty years ago Spain exported agricultural products and minerals and imported industrial goods. The fact that the exports today are dominated by consumer goods and imports by machinery and equipment, fuels, chemicals, and semi-finished goods reveals how fundamentally the pattern has changed.
The Spanish balance of trade has long been negative; despite rapid growth in trade in the 1980s, imports continue to outweigh exports. Due to increased petroleum prices, the weakness of the Euro, and loss of competitiveness, the Spanish trade deficit increased significantly in 1999. The dependence on imported petroleum makes Spain vulnerable to developments in the Middle East.