Spain is concentrating its economy on the European Union and so far its exports to North America have been minimal, according to Antonio Oyarzabal, Spanish ambassador to the United States.

But, because there is a large Hispanic population in North America, some day Spain will turn its economic attention in that direction, he said. "Spain is convinced that Europe has been good to us, so why expand elsewhere?" he asked.Having been in his present post for less than two years, Oyarzabal said he has a goal of improving economic trade with North America and is encouraging American companies to either form joint ventures with Spanish companies or expand to his country.

Speaking to a group invited by the Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce's International Council in the chamber office, Oyarzabal said as Spain moved into the European Union many people thought the country would turn its back on Latin America, but exports to that region have increased in the past decade.

Seventy percent of Spain's exports of automobiles, shoes, leather goods, steel, food, wines and olive oil go to European Union countries, Oyarzabal said.

Exports from Spain to the United States might be low, but there are some exports from the United States to Spain. Les Bain, an account manager for computer services giant Electronic Data Systems, said his company has a good economic relationship in Spain and exports computer-related services to several Spanish cities.

He said all of Europe is open to import computer services and providing consultants to that area has increased dramatically in the past five years.