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Spain’s membership of the European Union added the most significant dimension to New Zealand's interest in Spain. This was reflected in the opening of the New Zealand Embassy in Madrid in 1992. The official opening of the Embassy of Spain in New Zealand took place in June 2009 during the visit to New Zealand by Their Majesties Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia of Spain.
The trade and economic relationship between New Zealand and Spain is developing. Total two-way trade with Spain was NZ$429.8m (June 2012). Exports to Spain are dominated by agricultural products (mainly fresh fruit, molluscs, sheep meat and frozen fish. There is room for an increase in economic links (trade, investment, and tourism) and prospects for that are good. In the past few years, Spanish companies have won several high-value infrastructure contracts in New Zealand.
New Zealand signed a Working Holiday Scheme with Spain in 2009 which has proved very popular. New Zealand and Spain also signed a Memorandum of Education Cooperation in November 2010. In April 2011 the Spanish research vessel Hésperides visited NZ waters, making a port stop in Auckland to hold workshops with New Zealand scientists.
Since elections in November 2011, President Mariano Rajoy of the conservative Popular Party (PP) has led Spain with a large majority in parliament. The effect of the Eurozone crisis on the Spanish economy over the last few years has been well documented. Spain has been forced to access emergency financial support from its euro zone partners in order to prop up its banking sector, but direct involvement of European funds in Spanish banks is still conditional on further progress at the European level. The Spanish economy is expected to remain in recession for another few years while it implements a restrictive budget and institutional reforms.
Land area - 504,645 square kilometres
Population – 46.2 million (2012 estimate)
Capital city- Madrid
Language - Spanish (Castilian), Catalan, Galician, Basque
Political system - Parliamentary monarchy
National government - Centre-left Spanish Socialist Workers´ Party
National legislature - Council of Ministers headed by the President of the Government (who is also the Prime Minister) - Bicameral Parliament comprising the lower house Congress of Deputies (350 seats, members elected through proportional representation from multimember constituencies) and upper house Senate (264 seats, 208 directly elected members and 56 designated by regions). The Congress has greater legislative power than the Senate.
Last election – November 2011
Next election – November 2015
Head of State - King Juan Carlos I
Head of Government - President of the Government (Prime Minister) Mariano Rajoy, the leader of the Popular Party (PP)
GDP US$1.355 billion
Real GDP growth -1.8%
Per capita GDP US$32,232
Exports US$303.8 billion
Imports US$343.6 billion
Main exports Automobiles, fruits, minerals, metals, clothing, footwear, textiles
NZ Exports (FOB) - NZ$186 million
Main Exports -Fresh fruit, frozen fish, sheep meat, frozen beef
NZ Imports (CIF) - NZ$253 million
Main Imports - – Motor vehicles, medicaments, olive oil, plastic materials
The Safetravel website provides a travel advisory for travellers to Spain [external link].