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Backgrounder: Key facts about Spain

01-04-2011 15:08 BJT

BEIJING, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) -- The Kingdom of Spain, located on the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe, is bordered to the west by Portugal, to the north by France, Andorra and the Bay of Biscay, and to the east and southeast by the Mediterranean Sea.

The country covers an area of 506,000 square km and has a population of some 46.75 million.

Castilians (Spaniards) constitute the majority of the country's population. Minority ethnic groups include Catalans, Galicians and Basques. Castilian (Spanish) is the official language and 96 percent of the population are Catholics.

A moderately developed country, Spain took a series of measures to deregulate its economy in the early 1980s.

The year 1986 marked a peak in Spain's economic development as it joined the European Community. Spain is also a founder member of the euro.

In recent years, Spain's economy experienced a blistering trajectory, with an annual growth rate surpassing the average level of EU members.

However, since the second half of 2008, the global financial crisis has been plaguing the country, hitting the economy hard and severely crippling social development.

Spain's major industrial sectors include food, automobiles, metallurgy, chemicals, energy, petrochemicals, and electronics. Textiles, clothing and the shoe-making industry have long been Spain's major traditional sectors.

As one of the pillars of the country's economy, the auto industry's output ranked seventh in the world. Wine production ranked third, and Spain's yield of olive oil is the largest in the world.

China established diplomatic ties with Spain on March 9, 1973. Since then, the two countries have kept expanding contacts and cooperation in such fields as politics, economy, technology and culture, among others.

The two sides have maintained frequent exchanges of high-level visits. In November 2005, when Chinese President Hu Jintao visited Spain, the two countries announced they would forge an all-round strategic partnership.

Bilateral trade volume stood at 18.364 billion U.S. dollars in 2009, according to China's General Administration of Customs.

Editor:Zhang Pengfei |Source: Xinhua

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