While the globalEDGE team is comprised of students and professionals with various academic backgrounds, one common theme amongst us is our passion for international business and to experience first-hand the effects of an increasingly globalized economic, political, and cultural world outside of the classroom. In my case, I have been given an incredible opportunity to work this summer with a non-governmental organization (NGO) called Poleas Global in Barcelona, Spain, which works to promote the coordination and multiplication of successful international relationships between the different sectors of the business world and projects aimed at social development. Alongside working in a dynamic international business-focused environment here in Barcelona, I will also be reading news articles from local sources, such as La Vanguardia and El País, to utilize different perspectives for analyzing global business news.
As a part of this introduction post, I would like to focus first on an overview of the Spanish economy, including its strengths and weaknesses. Prior to the global recession that began in 2008, the Spanish economy was regarded as one of the most dynamic within the European Union. Unfortunately, the three main pillars of the Spanish economy before 2008 were tourism, a seemingly endless demand for construction, and a booming housing market, thus leaving the country vulnerable to the severe recession that has since followed. The current unemployment rate in Spain stands at 27%, while austerity measures imposed by the government to reduce the level of public debt ignite anti-government demonstrations throughout the country, especially in the autonomous regions of Catalonia and Basque Country.
In spite of these notorious headlines that have flooded news outlets for the past five years, Spain continues to hold a vital role in the global economy, and its perspectives on international business remain highly influential over global trade. In spite of the crisis, Spain continues to have a strong influence over resource-rich and rapidly growing Latin American markets, which has elevated the country, and especially the city of Barcelona, as the primary gateway for countries like China, India, and Singapore to access these markets. This connection thus pinpoints Spain as the crossroads of economic interests spanning from booming Asian economies, target Latin American markets, and the European Union. This is a very strategic place for a country to hold as international geopolitics and economics continue to shift towards Asia and Latin America. Spain also has been noted as having world class infrastructure, including rankings higher than the United States and Japan, and saw its exports grow by 4.2% in 2013, the highest rate in the European Union and first surplus in three decades.
Clearly, the Kingdom of Spain that once commanded oceans still holds significance in an increasingly integrated economic and political world. I greatly look forward to learning more about global business trends from a different perspective here in Barcelona, and I invite you to join me by following blogs with the tag "Perspectives from Spain." ¡Hasta luego!
For more information on this topic, you can visit the globalEDGE module "Doing Business in the European Union".