MADRID, May 15 (Xinhua) -- China is the main trade and economic partner for Spain in Asia, according to the March economic bulletin of Spanish Trade Information by the Ministry of Economy.
"Our economic and trade relations are advancing at a good pace and China is the main economic and trade partner of Spain in Asia and the main destination for Spanish exports in Asia," said the report published on Monday.
In 2017, exports from Spain increased by 24.4 percent to 6.2 billion euros (7.3 billion U.S. dollars), Economy Minister Roman Escolano said in the report.
Due to the global growth that China has maintained for three decades, Escolano highlighted the importance of this market for Spanish industries.
"Almost 15,000 Spanish companies export to China and some 600 more are in that country, in sectors such as energy, automotive, financial services, industrial technology, agri-food and consumer goods, but we must aspire to improve these figures." the minister said.
"China and Europe (and Spain) defense free trade. We are on the same side, defending external openness as a tool for progress, economic growth and job creation", Escolano added.
He also pointed out that in recent years Spain has become an attractive destination for China because of the opportunities it offers as a bridge towards Europe, Latin America and Africa.
Relations between both countries, which in 2018 turn 45, go beyond the trade sector, Escolano emphasized.
"The rise of the middle classes explains the growing importance of Chinese tourism in Spain, which grows at annual rates of 30 or 40 percent," he said, adding that "there are also cultural, educational and social ties".