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Barcelona Chamber of Commerce worried about economic situation after Catalan elections

The President of Barcelona's Chamber of Commerce Miquel Valls has recognised that there is "an important concern" among many business owners about Catalonia's self-determination process and the economic consequences resulting from the forthcoming Catalan Parliament elections, scheduled for 27 September and which will be transformed into a 'de facto' plebiscite on independence. A few months ago, Valls presented a report from the Chamber of Commerce stating that the self-determination process of the last few years had not affected the economy, as exports, tourism and direct foreign investment were growing at a higher rate in Catalonia than in the rest of Spain. However, as the 'de facto' plebiscite approaches and the political landscape becomes more uncertain due to the independence road map and threats from Spanish institutions, business owners are increasingly worried. In this vein, Valls urged the political parties to detail their economic proposals for after the September elections.

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29 July 2015 10:10 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- The President of Barcelona's Chamber of Commerce Miquel Valls has recognised that there is "an important concern" among many business owners about Catalonia's self-determination process and the economic consequences of the forthcoming Catalan Parliament elections, scheduled for 27 September and which will be transformed into a 'de facto' plebiscite on independence. A few months ago, Valls presented a report from the Chamber of Commerce stating that the self-determination process of the last few years had not affected the economy, as exports, tourism and direct foreign investment were growing at a higher rate in Catalonia than in the rest of Spain. However, as the 'de facto' plebiscite approaches and the political landscape becomes more uncertain due to the independence road map and threats from Spanish institutions, business owners are increasingly worried. In this vein, Valls urged the political parties to detail their economic proposals for after the September elections. Despite this element of uncertainty, the Chamber of Commerce has improved its economic forecast for Catalonia for 2015, forecasting economic growth of 3% (up from last April’s forecast of 2.7%). However, it has lowered its forecast for 2016 to 2.8% (in April it believed it would be 3%).


On Wednesday, Miquel Valls presented the Chamber's new economic forecast for 2015 and 2016, reviewing the figures previously released. In addition, he also referred to the self-determination process and the plebiscite on independence from Spain that the elections due in 2 months’ time will become. Valls stressed that in the case that Catalans vote mostly for pro-independence parties and that secession from Spain begins, the "transition costs" are uncertain, and this "great deal of uncertainty" represents "an important concern" for many members of the Chamber of Commerce and business owners.

However, the Head of Economic Studies at the Barcelona-based organisation, Joan Ramon Rovira, also stressed that the Chamber had issued several studies analysing the economic consequences of Catalonia's independence from Spain, both for the public and private sector, and always taking for granted that there would not be an automatic expulsion from the European Union (and there would therefore be a temporary transition status where the main economic freedoms and monetary policies would be kept).

Nonetheless, Valls believes that it is "fundamental" that the political parties clearly explain the economic consequences of independence and the transition costs. In addition, they should also detail their economic proposals for the next few years, in areas such as the labour market and transport infrastructure.

Catalonia to grow by 3% in 2015 and 2.8% in 2016

The Chamber has also released its revision of the growth forecast figures for 2015 and 2016 for Catalonia. Those for the current year have been improved and go from the 2.7% growth in GDP forecast in April to 3%. At the same time, due to the uncertainties of the 27 September elections and the independence process, the Chamber has decreased its forecast for 2016, which goes from 3% to 2.8%.

Besides this, the Barcelona-based organisation has also calculated that Catalonia grew by 2.9% in annual terms during the second quarter of the year, while in the third quarter its GDP will increase by 3.5%. An increase in domestic demand and the continued good performance of exports and tourism are the main drivers of this economic growth, combined with external factors such as low oil prices and the liquidity provided by the European Central Bank.

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  • The presentation of the Barcelona's Chamber of Commerce's economic forecast for 2015 and 2016 (by P. Solà)

  • The presentation of the Barcelona's Chamber of Commerce's economic forecast for 2015 and 2016 (by P. Solà)