The president of the Spanish Exporters and Investors Club, Antonio Bonet, assured that “exports will continue to rise” in the second half of the year, but estimates that growth will be lower than that registered in the first six months of 2021.
However, Bonet acknowledged to Servimedia that it is “difficult to make a projection” about the progress of exports in the coming months due to the uncertainty generated by the evolution of the pandemic and government policies.
The manager explained that the sectors that have been most affected by the Covid-19 crisis have been those that had to “send people abroad to negotiate contracts or execute projects” because, not being able to move, “it is difficult for them to can sign new contracts. ”
This circumstance has been coupled with the fact that some clients in “geographical areas where it is more difficult to travel” have chosen to paralyze the execution of contracts due to international economic uncertainty.
This scenario has led to an increase in the volume of Spanish exports to eurozone countries , since “if before it exported 55% to eurozone countries, now it is 57%”.
Impact of Brexit
Asked about the impact of the entry into force of Brexit on trade relations between Spain and the United Kingdom, Bonet confirmed that it has caused a decline in Spanish exports, since in the first half of this year they rose to “9,000 million” euros, compared to the 10 billion that were registered in the same period of 2019.
Spanish imports from the United Kingdom suffered an even steeper fall, from 5,600 million in the first half of 2019 to 3,800 in 2021.
For this reason, the president of the Exporters Club stressed that “we all went wrong” from Brexit, but the United Kingdom “fares worse than us” since “its foreign trade with the European Union was gigantic” and trade agreements “with other parts of the world are not assembled overnight. ”
On the contrary, total exports to the United States “have grown”, going “from 6,800 (million euros) in the first six months of 2019 to 7,000 in 2021”, an increase that “in part” is due to the withdrawal provisional sanctions imposed by the North American country.
The Joe Biden Administration announced sanctions on products from different countries, including Spain, in retaliation for situations such as the approval of the Google Tax, although it has subsequently put them on hold pending a multilateral agreement on taxes on multinationals in the OECD and the G-20.
Bonet defended that the commitment of “the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to harmonize taxes worldwide” is “a very important first step so that there is no economic retaliation for the Google tax.”
Bonet believes that “the will of both parties is not to enter into a trade war , but to solve things in a more reasonable way,” but he recalled that “the agreement must be developed and detailed.”
For this reason, he hopes “that the sanctions will not be applied again, or that the imposition of sanctions or special tariffs will be extended.” “It is what we are all waiting for and what we think is going to happen, but with political negotiations you never know,” he added.
On the other hand, the president of the Exporters Club foresees that ‘the microchip crisis’ will be solved for next year. “All industries that use chips are suffering,” he recalled.
However, it is hitting especially the automotive sector, which “traditionally has been the second chapter of Spanish exports”, but “now is the fourth”, since “there has been a relative decline, therefore (the crisis) it does affect and is worrying. ”
Added to this situation are “supply and price problems for other raw materials”, which affects Spain but also “other countries, so we are all in a similar situation.”