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Los Depósitos Francos en España, 1914-1930


  • Joseba Lebrancón Nieto

    () (Universidad de Santiago de Compostela)


In the last third of the nineteenth century free warehouses and free trade zones sprang up in several European countries as economic policy resources. At the turn of the century some Spanish ports wished to equip themselves with this institution in order to make up for the loss of the last ultramarine colonies, gain trade and help to promote commodity exports. After fifteen years of parliamentary debate and disagreement, the free warehouses of Barcelona, Bilbao, Cadiz and Santander were established during the First World War. In addition to the processes initially authorized, such as coffee roast or coconut oil refinement, other industries soon developed especially automobile assembly. The establishment of Ford was as decisive for the free warehouses as it was for the American company, which made good use of the duty-free institution. Free warehouses allowed the multinational firm to assemble automobiles using national or foreign components, delaying taxes until the car was imported to Spain or remaining free of those tariffs if the merchandise was sent to another country. The assembly plant of Barcelona made up about 40 per cent of the domestic market before the Civil War, and was successful in assembling and selling automobiles in Portugal, North Africa, Italy or Adriatic Europe.

Suggested Citation

  • Joseba Lebrancón Nieto, 2009. "Los Depósitos Francos en España, 1914-1930," Investigaciones de Historia Económica (IHE) Journal of the Spanish Economic History Association, Asociacion Espa–ola de Historia Economica, vol. 5(03), pages 11-44.
  • Handle: RePEc:ahe:invest:v:15:y:2009:i:03:p:11-44

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    More about this item


    Free Warehouse; Ford; Automotive Industry; Free trade zone;

    JEL classification:

    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • L62 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Automobiles; Other Transportation Equipment; Related Parts and Equipment
    • N14 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: 1913-
    • N64 - Economic History - - Manufacturing and Construction - - - Europe: 1913-
    • N74 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - Europe: 1913-


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