Catalan exports reached a record level in 2012 - 58 billion euros of sales and 5% growth. These figures represent a 15.4% increase from pre-crisis figures and demonstrate the firm commitment of Catalan businesses to seek out new business opportunities internationally. These are among the highlighted conclusions of the Catalan Enterprise and Labor Ministry’s report on the internationalization of the Catalan economy, unveiled today by the Government. Last year, the Government of Catalonia supported the development of 5,739 internationalization projects through programs that promote the initiation, expansion and consolidation of Catalan business activity in foreign markets. An important part of this work has been supported by ACC1Ó, the Catalan government’s trade and investment agency, which comprises 34 business promotion offices worldwide.
The figures also show that the Catalan export sector is transitioning from a traditionally domestic to an increasingly international market for goods and services. In 2012, 54.3% of Catalonia’s external sales went to international markets, while the remaining 45.7% went to the rest of Spain. In addition, Catalonia is the largest exporter in Spain, accounting for 26% of the total Spanish exports, doubling exports from the next leading regions – the Community of Madrid with 12%, followed by Andalusia with 11.3%.
In addition to the increase in 2012 sales, the gross number of Catalan companies selling outside of Catalonia also showed positive growth. In total, 45,937 Catalan companies were exporting in 2012, 6.4% more than in 2011. The European Union enjoys the largest market share of these sales, with France and Germany the top two countries. However, with the European economic crisis, sales to emerging markets have been gaining ground.  At present, nearly four out of ten sales went to markets outside the EU.
Australia, Venezuela, Algeria, China and Japan were the markets that have shown the most growth for Catalan businesses last year. The main export sectors are chemical, automotive, agri-food, metallurgical, textile and machinery. 
According to a report prepared by ACC1Ó on exports for Q4 of 2012, Catalan business expectations indicate that 84% of Catalan companies expect to increase or maintain current levels of sales over the next 12 months.
Finally, foreign investment into Catalonia also increased by 37% last year, reaching 331 million euros. As a result of the joint efforts by the Catalan Government and its public investment promotion agency, Invest in Catalonia, this has resulted in 4,890 jobs that have been created and maintained in Catalonia.