The United Nations woos Spain vendors

The United Nations woos Spain vendors

Spain is currently 9th on the list of global suppliers of goods and services to The United Nations, no mean feat for a country which emerged just 18 months ago from a deep downturn to return to economic growth.

In 2014, the UN’s purchases totalled 17.237 billion usd, with Spanish firms contributing 3 percent of its total budget. It is these companies’ increasing competitiveness which has won the international organisation’s seal of approval.

But despite this advantage, Spain only grabbed 0.47% of all the contracts tendered by the UN last year, placing it in 47th place in the global rankings by contracts awarded. Countries like the US and India hed up that list.

At a recent meeting organised by the Public Administration Suppliers’ Association, representatives of the UN’s procurement division outlined the many business opportunities open to Spanish companies in industries such as health, transport and food and agriculture.

And it is not just the large companies which stand to benefit, but also small and mid-sized companies (SMEs). That is good news for Spain where these firms account for 70-80 percent of GDP.

According to the division head, Miguel Alvarez, Spain has the potential to reach 9th place in the contracts by countries list.



The government’s 2012 labour market reform has been a catalyst for this rise in competitiveness which has fuelled a surge in Spain’s internationalisation and exports over the last two years.

In 2014, Spain gained competitiveness against  the European Union and the Eurozone (-0.9% and – 0.7% respectively), thanks to lower consumer prices compared to the average of the countries in both regions.

With respect to the OECD countries and the emerging economies (BRICS), Spain also improved its competitiveness in the fourth quarter of 2014 (-3.1% and -5.2% year-on-year respectively) due to a combination of lower inflation and the euro’s depreciation.



So how can Spain leverage on its competitiveness to win more UN contracts and improve its ranking in that area?

For Alvarez, Spanish companies need to show more interest in applying for the UN contracts, and not lose heart if they are not succesful first time round.

The largest number of purchases are for sectors like food and drink, autos and financial services, where Spanish companies are highly competitive.

Spain’s auto sector, where labour costs are around 40 percent lower than in countries like Germany, has attracted increased foreign investment over the last few years because of this competitive advantage.

So now it is time for these companies to be less reticent and set their sights on the contract opportunities with the UN.

For information on investment and legal services in Spain, please contact corporate law firm Argali Abogados.

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