The French Basque Country or Northern Basque Country (Iparralde) is a geographical area of around 3000 km2 whose boundaries are the Adour River to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, the Spanish border to the south and the Béarn to the east marked by the municipalities of Hôpital-Saint-Blaise, Barcus, Haux, Montory and Sainte-Engrâce.
The Basque Country has 158 municipalities in 21 districts and 10 intercommunal structures. The population density is 96 inhabitants per km2.
With an economic fabric of 31 341 businesses and 119 384 jobs on 31 December 2008, the Basque Country has a proven economic potential.
On average, the Basque Country is characterised by 10.6 businesses and 40.2 jobs per km², a density of 108.7 businesses and 414.0 jobs per 1 000 inhabitants.
The heavy concentration of both the population and the main communication infrastructures in the coastal area has produced a polarisation of economic activities, mostly benefitting the five most heavily populated towns with around half of all businesses and almost two thirds of jobs in the Basque Country. However, the whole territory has a well-developed framework based on the main urban centres.
- Bayonne: 4 989 businesses and 29 238 jobs.
- Biarritz: 3 575 businesses and 12 591 jobs.
- Anglet: 3 393 businesses and 16 592 jobs.
- St-Jean-de-Luz: 2 001 businesses and 8 555 jobs.
- Hendaye: 1 115 businesses and 6 355 jobs.
The structure of the Basque Country is similar to the economic fabric of France, which is largely dominated by the tertiarisation of its economy. Services are therefore the territory’s main economic pillar, although the world of farming is still very present in the eyes of many businesses. Commerce follows, the third economic vector, before the Basque Country’s strong tourist vocation.
Construction covers a significant part of the local economy, related to the territory’s general attractiveness. Finally, although industry is the least important category in terms of the number of businesses, it is the third largest in terms of the number of jobs.
Diversity within these activities, combined with the dynamic creation of businesses and a fabric mostly characterised by SME’s, provides the Basque Country with a certain amount of protection in times of crisis.
The presence of very large companies also guarantees the standing of the Basque Country, where the top 10 alone represent 5 500 jobs.
The Bayonne & Basque Country Chamber of Commerce & Industry had 15 104 registered businesses on 31/12/2011, distributed as follows:
Source: Bayonne & Basque Country Chamber of Commerce & Industry – Trade Register
Further details: http://www.bayonne.cci.fr/
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Establishment of Bayonne & Basque Country Chamber of Commerce & Industry