Latest trade statistics released by the Spanish government show Spain steadily gaining ground as a textile exporting nation.

Nine per cent of all textile products created within the EU now emanate from Spain, which currently rates as the region's fifth largest producer after Italy, Germany, France and the UK.

Currently the textile industry provides employment for l58,545 workers - a 3.5 per cent increase in the number of jobs made available compared with last year's figures.

Yet despite its prosperity the Spanish industry remains very fragmented compared with other major EU producer nations. It is still dominated by medium to small sized companies employing an average of 35 workers and often still managed by members of their founding families.

Only 0.4 per cent per cent of Spanish fabric or clothing producers qualify as large-scale by the international standard of having 500 or more staff.

By Sonia Roberts.