High Corps of Spanish State Economists and Trade Experts

The Spanish State Economists and Trade Experts (Técnicos Comerciales y Economistas del EstadoTCEE) is the body of officials which belongs to the Central Administration specialized in the development and implementation of economic and trade policies of the Spanish government.

The extensive knowledge and training of its members qualify them in a convenient way for any field in the local, regional, central and foreign administrations where knowledge of economic, financial, commercial and regulatory aspects is required. In addition, their knowledge qualifies them for important roles in specialized and regulatory agencies (domestic or international ones) in their fields of expertise, as well as in multilateral organizations. Its economic and commercial training is guaranteed by the demanding entry exams, promoted by the Spanish State, which is recognized both nationally and internationally.

This special body was created in 1984 by the integration of both the Special Body of Facultative State Trade Experts and that of the State Economists, although its origin is the Law Decree 681/1930, of 28 February, which creates the Technical Body of Commercial Secretaries and Officials.


Two separated corps

It was created in 1984 by the integration of both the Special Body of Facultative State Trade Experts and that of the State Economists. The first one was created in 1933 by the Decree/Law 681 of 1930, with the name of the Technical Body of Commercial Secretaries and Officials. By doing so, the Government emphasized the importance acquired by international trade in the years following the Great Depression and the need to devote attention and expertise to the defense of Spanish commercial interests.

In 1940, maintaining the same functions, the body changed its name to Trade Experts of the State and in 1950, with the creation of the Ministry of Commerce, it was consolidated as a reference in the definition of economic and trade policy in Spain. The milestone in this respect was the Stabilization Plan of 1959, which allowed the incorporation of Spain into the institutions created by the Bretton Woods agreements: the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade).

Meanwhile, the Body of Economists of the State was created by Act of May 12, 1956. It was ascribed directly to Prime Minister and was assigned, among other functions, with the duties of performing economic studies and advising centers and ministerial departments whose projects did affect Spanish economy. Its first and major achievement was the implementation and management of the Development Plans, which marked the Spanish economic development throughout the sixties and the first half of the seventies.

In the late 70s, the role of both bodies was paramount in the design and subsequent implementation of the economic side of the so-called Moncloa Pacts. In the first half of the 80s, the main task of the State Economists was to prepare and negotiate, in close collaboration with the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Agriculture and Industry, the economic conditions for Spain‘s access to the European Economic Community.

A unified single corps

Since 1984, with the Law 30/1984 on Measures to Reform of Public Administration, the current State Economists and Trade Experts body merges the two bodies, and assumes the primary responsibility for economic and trade policy, being one of its first key features the Spanish contribution to the definition of the European Monetary Union and the preparation of Spain for its membership.

The history of the TCEEs is linked in time to the expansion and practical application of the Economic Science. The TCEE body has starred various milestones in the Spanish economic history, such as the inclusion of the peseta in the European Monetary System, the development of the ECU and the subsequent negotiations of the European Monetary Union and the Euro. They also collaborated in the creation of the Development Assistance Fund (currently the Company Internationalization Fund), the Spanish participation in all liberalizing rounds of GATT and the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the creation of the complete network of support for the internationalization of the Spanish companies, which gets its form through the Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade (ICEX), the Spanish Company for Development Finance (COFIDES) and the Spanish Company of Credit Insurance to Exports (CESCE). Together with the latter, the TCEEs have been a major player in the consolidation and institutionalization of the Competition and Regulatory policies, which include, on the one hand, reforms and liberalizations in the markets of products, services and factors (including the important energy sector) and, on the other hand, the establishment of the National Competition Commission (now the National Commission for Markets and Competition).

Functions and Destinations

A feature of the TCEEs is the versatility in both the functions and destinations they face. In the Spanish Administration, the TCEEs perform their work mainly in the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, and also in the Ministry of Finance and Public Administration and in the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism.

Within the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, the TCEE are present in the Secretariat of State for Economy and Business Support, and within it, in the Secretariat General for the Treasury and Financial Policy, in the Directorate General for Economic Policy and in the Directorate General for Macroeconomic Analysis and International Economy. The TCEE also can be found throughout the organizational structure of the Secretariat of State for Trade, which includes the network of Economic and Commercial Offices abroad, the commercial services of the Spanish representation vis a vis the international organizations (Permanent Representation of Spain vis a vis the European Union, the OECD and the UN), the Spanish Chambers of Commerce abroad, and several state agencies such as the ICEX and the local offices spread across the Spanish regions. TCEE can also be found in independent bodies, such as the National Commission for Markets and Competition or the Independent Authority for Fiscal Responsibility. TCEE members are also present in other departments of the Central Government with marked economic aspects.

In the European administration, the TCEEs play roles related to economic and trade policies in both the European Commission and the European Parliament. In international organizations, they also carry out their work in International Financial Institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank Group and Regional Development Banks.

Prominent members

The number of TCEE that have acquired notoriety and gained public recognition thanks to the importance of their contribution to the process of design and management of the Spanish economic policy, either in academia or in private enterprises, is very high. The list includes several Spanish ministers of Economy, Finance, Trade, Tourism and Energy, several governors of the Bank of Spain, and prominent positions in international organizations such as the IMF, the World Bank and the Bank for International Settlements