5.4. Structural determining factors linked to firm size and openness to foreign trade

The Basque Country coincides with the reference regions in the largest average size of manufacturing companies and the weight of sales in the region itself

Two other important structural conditions which are usually considered in analysing development are firm size and degree of openness. With regard to the first aspect, Table 18 indicates that in both the EU-28 and the reference regions, the size of manufacturing firms is triple that of services firms, with firm size being larger in the reference regions in both cases. The Basque Country coincides with the group of reference regions in having larger manufacturing firms, but not in the size of service firms, which is below the European average.

As regards the level of openness, in order to be able to have comparative data for all the regions, we have used the estimates produced by the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency for trade in European regions, published by the JRC's RIS3 platform. Both the Basque Country and the reference regions sell a larger proportion of what they produce within the domestic market of the region itself, and consequently, sell less to the rest of the country, the rest of the EU and the rest of the world. Specifically, foreign sales account for, on average, 18% of total sales for the EU-28, 14% for the reference regions and 12% for the Basque Country. In all cases, these foreign sales are predominantly to EU countries rather than those outside the EU. However, this trend is slightly less marked in the Basque Country and the reference regions.

Table 18. Firm size and openness to foreign trade indicators representative of structural conditions.
Table 18 Firm size and openness to foreign trade indicators representative of structural conditions
Source: Eurostat and JRC-EU trade. Compiled by authors.
  1. Joint Research Centre. See http://s3platform.jrc.ec.europa.eu/s3-trade-tool. EThese are the most recent available estimates, and as they are of structural nature they probably haven’t changed substantially.