Leading foreign investment attraction in Europe
A few days ago it was announced that Amazon will open a logistics centre in Barcelona in 2017, entailing an investment of 200 million euros and creating 1,500 jobs. This latest announcement is one of the most recent examples demonstrating how Catalonia has been able to create a name for itself internationally as an innovative and creative land, with a flair for industry and, above all, as a place firmly connected to the rest of the world.
Today, local and regional economies are increasingly present in international trade flows. It also goes without question that in the 21st century one needs be part of this global context in order to be competitive. Furthermore, to become so, the region has to be appealing and to have an open economy. In Catalonia, internationalisation has been part of our way of life for hundreds of years, back to when our country was known for being one of the Mediterranean’s most important trading centres. And this still stands true today, with Catalan exports currently representing nearly half of Catalonia’s GDP.
This international vision has enabled us to situate Catalonia in the global value chain and has positioned the country as a strategic investment bridge in Europe. Every year we record higher rates of foreign investment in Catalonia. In 2015, this grew by 57.8%, according to official data, and Catalonia became the European region attracting the most foreign investment according to Ernst & Young, reaching a figure of 4,377 million euros. And today’s panorama allows us to foresee a very promising future, as the Financial Times points out when it indicates Catalonia as the best region for investment in southern Europe in 2016 and 2017.
What is it about Catalonia that makes it such a strategic place for investment? Not only do we have talent, but we know how to attract it. We have a powerful industrial and logistics base and we are in a privileged location as one of the main ports of entry to Europe and as a bridge to both North Africa and Latin America. We have the capacity as a country and are clearly committed to an open and integrated economy. In Catalonia, foreign companies can access world-class scientific parks and installations – such as the Alba Synchotron, the first particle accelerator in Southern Europe, or the MareNostrum supercomputer. They also can have access to 12 universities, some of which are considered to be the best in Europe for business education. We host the Mobile World Congress and have an extremely fertile research and entrepreneurial ecosystem in our capital, Barcelona, where over 50% of start-ups are set up by entrepreneurs from abroad.
Behind these local assets are a series of key players who are on the frontlines of the improvement in our economy’s competiveness: the small and medium sized companies, the entrepreneurs and the 6,400 foreign multinationals operating in Catalonia. In this government we are clearly committed to continuing to give support to our country’s business landscape. Through the public agency Catalonia Trade & Investment, we have a network of 36 offices worldwide covering 90 countries, with teams of professionals specialised in giving personalised assistance in internationalisation and innovation to Catalan companies and in supporting investment projects from companies from all around the world.
In short, our overall goal is to continue to give support to the open and global spirit of our country. Here and now, Catalonia is where everything connects.
General Director of Industry and CEO Catalonia Trade & Investment