Spanish Prime Minister and Catalan President attend the same event but avoid each other

April 24, 2014 10:42 PM | ACN

Mariano Rajoy, Prime Minister of Spain, and Artur Mas, President of the Catalan Government, both attended a business forum in Barcelona on Thursday. However, their attendance did not coincide at the event, since Rajoy did not come to hear Mas' speech and the Catalan President did not wait for the arrival of the Spanish PM. Both politicians were making visible the lack of dialogue between them regarding Catalonia's self-determination demands. In recent weeks, Rajoy has been repeating his demand that Mas give up the intention to organise a self-determination vote totally as the sine-qua-non condition for him to start talking. However, Mas considers Rajoy's condition "an imposition" and demonstrating a lack of political will, since Rajoy refuses to discuss the issue a majority of Catalans want to talk about.

Catalonia represents over 25% of Spanish exports

April 16, 2014 07:44 PM | ACN

In the first two months of 2014 exports by Catalan companies increased by 2.2% on the same period last year, according to figures released on Wednesday by the Spanish Ministry for the Economy and Competitiveness. In fact, Catalan companies were behind 25.3% of all exports from Spain. Spain's exports in January and February reached €37.76 billion, a 4% increase on figures from the same period last year. In addition, the amount reached in the first two months of 2014 represents an historical record. The main industries behind those numbers are food, drinks, and tobacco, as well as manufacturing and automation.  The main markets for Spanish products were the UK, Portugal, the United States and Germany.

Barcelona Port increases goods traffic by 9% in the first quarter of 2014

April 15, 2014 05:59 PM | ACN

The Port of Barcelona handled 10.7 million tons of goods during the first 3 months of 2014, which represents a 9% increase on the same period last year. Between January and March, all the types of transported goods posted a significant growth, and the same trend applies to the traffic of passengers, which grew by 9%. In the first quarter of the year, the number of vehicles transported grew by 5%, as did the number of containers, which reached 428,720 TEU. Container imports increased by 7% and exports by 3%. Container exports grew particularly to countries such as China (+31%), the United States (+17%), Morocco (+35%) and Mexico (+87%). The traffic of bulk liquids increased by 24%, particularly diesel and other fuel, as well as chemical products.

Catalonia, number 1 in foreign investment and job creation

March 27, 2014 10:46 PM | ACN

The Catalan economy is more open than ever and attracts record levels of foreign investment, according to new data published on Thursday by the Catalan Minister for Business and Jobs, Felip Puig. The minister celebrated the fact that for the second year in a row, the prestigious ‘Financial Times’ newspaper ranked Catalonia first region in continental Europe in foreign investment and job creation. Catalonia attracted up to 91 new business projects with an estimated investment of almost 3,000 million dollars (around 2,257 million euros) and the creation of 7,427 jobs. Gross foreign investment figures from the Spanish government put the figure at 3,500 million euros. Exports in 2013 were at record levels, and generated 58,359 million euros. There are now more than 49,000 companies selling abroad in Catalonia, a 6.8% increase in comparison to 2012.

Barcelona Chamber of Commerce President: Catalonia’s economy works better than Spain’s

February 13, 2014 08:01 PM | ACN

The President of Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, Miquel Valls, stated on Thursday that the independence process was not affecting Catalonia’s economic recovery. During a press conference, Valls emphasised that such a statement was based on concrete “facts”. He stressed that Catalonia had tripled the amount of incoming foreign investment compared to the Spanish average, and that the Catalan economy had also registered better figures in enterprise creation and business confidence, employment and other indicators showing an economic recovery According to the report on conjecture and economic perspectives, the Catalan GDP grew by 0.7% during the fourth quarter of 2013, whereas the Spanish GDP dropped by 0.1%. Valls also recalled that the consultation vote on the political future of Catalonia would involve “citizens and not businesses”, thus responding to the employers who recently voiced their opposition to Catalonia’s independence.

Catalan economy speeds up its recovery with a 0.4% growth in the fourth quarter of 2013

February 7, 2014 04:23 PM | ACN

The Catalan economy has continued on a positive trend during the fourth quarter of 2013, also speeding up the recovery process. According to data released on Friday by the Catalan Ministry of Economy and Knowledge alongside the Catalan Institute of Statistics (Idescat), Catalonia’s GDP grew by 0.4% in the fourth quarter of 2013, while the Spanish average stood at 0.3%. In the whole year, the Catalan GDP has decreased by 0.6 %, while in 2012 it dropped by 1.3%. The continued good results in exports due to the increasing external demand and the improvement of the domestic demand have driven the economy forward.

Container traffic at Barcelona’s Port reaches pre-crisis “record number” of 2007

February 5, 2014 07:44 PM | ACN

The President of the Port of Barcelona, ??Sixte Cambra, said on Wednesday that the total container traffic had reached around one million TEUs for the full year (the reference unit for cargo ships, equivalent to 20 feet containers). “This is the record number of the best pre-crisis times, which happened in 2007” stated Cambra during an informational breakfast in Madrid. The President of the Port of Barcelona also underlined the change in trends since in 2007, in spite of the record number of containers, “more than 60% were imports; in 2013 over 60% were exported containers.”

“An independent Catalonia should not pay” for Spain’s “odious debts”, says employer association

January 31, 2014 01:37 PM | ACN

The President of the employer’s association Cercle Català de Negocis (CCN), Albert Pont, stated that part of the Spanish Government’s debt is “odious” and therefore Catalonia cannot recognise this “illegitimate debt”. However, Pont underlined the “willingness” to pay for the proportionate share of the rest of the debt, which should be calculated “item by item”. In an exclusive interview with the CNA, he denounced a public debt generated “for the benefit of no more than a few companies” that “provide works, services and infrastructures” for the Spanish Government. “If Spain does not recognise the independence of Catalonia, Spain should assume its debt completely and the Catalan Government its own debt”, he warned. In addition, Pont denounced the fact that the Spanish Executive is taking away “between €16 billion and €18 billion” from Catalonia each year, a fiscal deficit amounting to “around 9%” of the Catalan GDP. “The IMF already established that fiscal deficits exceeding 4% of the GDP of a territory amounted to colonial relations”, he highlighted. Besides, he explained that “the average custom duty is between 1.4% and 1.5%”. However, Pont ruled out this possibility since a “political solution” will be reached to keep Catalonia within the EU.

Spanish GDP to grow between 0.5% and 1% in 2014, says ESADE

January 14, 2014 07:45 PM | ACN

The “very moderate” growth expectations for 2014, between 0.5% and 1%, will make it “difficult” for the unemployment rates to fall below the current 27%. This was the conclusion of the 2014 Economic Report of Barcelona-based ESADE, one of the top business schools in the world. The main author of the report stressed that this “slow and costly” growth should contribute only in a “very reduced” way to creating new jobs in 2014. However, he also explained that the Labour Market Reform would have positive effects on employment levels in the medium and long term. The study indicates that consumption in 2014 will “remain restricted” due to the high unemployment rates and reduced wages.

European Parliament’s final approval of the Mediterranean Railway Corridor

November 19, 2013 07:17 PM | ACN

After years of debate, the new European Union’s Transport Priorities have finally been approved. The European Parliament has approved the Commission’s plan to build 9 major transport corridors connecting the continent from West to East, North to South and in diagonal. The Mediterranean Corridor for freight and passengers is one of these 9 priorities and will link Barcelona and Tarragona to the Gibraltar Straight and Central Europe, connecting major production centres, import/export infrastructures and tourist destinations. The final plan ignores the Spanish Government’s request to include the Centre Pyrenees Corridor as well, a project that was bypassing Catalonia and therefore Barcelona, despite being Spain’s main industrial, export and tourist centre and being geographically attached to France.

Catalonia leads Spain’s exports, representing 25% of the total exportation during the first half of 2013

August 22, 2013 07:32 PM | ACN

The Spanish Deputy Minister for Trade, Jaime García Legaz, acknowledged on Thursday that Catalonia is the “main exporting community” within Spain. Between January and July, Catalonia’s exports had a value of €29.23 billion, representing 24.6% of Spain’s total in that period. During his speech, García Legaz failed to confirm the statement made by Madrid’s regional Government that more than 1,000 Catalonian companies have moved to Madrid since 2010. He insisted that he lacks “reliable data” on this issue and is therefore “not in a position to make an informed judgement”. A total of seven Autonomous Communities within Spain have experienced an increase in their exports this year.

The Port of Barcelona increased its container export levels by 12% during the first half of 2013 setting a new record

August 2, 2013 09:46 PM | ACN

Container exports from the Port of Barcelona reached 276,566 TEU’s for the first half of this year, an increase of 12% on the same period of 2012. North Africa and the Far East have significantly grown as the destinations of exports from the Catalan harbour. Furthermore, among the highest exports are motor vehicles and bulk solid cargo such as cement. The Catalan Minister of Planning and Sustainability, Santi Vila, stressed the importance of the Port as an economic engine and the fact that it has changed itself from being an importer to an exporter of goods in recent years.

Catalonia’s GDP grew by 0.1% during second quarter of 2013 according to Barcelona’s Chamber of Commerce

July 31, 2013 11:02 PM | ACN

Barcelona’s Chamber of Commerce has presented the results of the economic situation of Catalonia during the second quarter of the year. It is estimated that GDP rose by 0.1% on the second quarter, following 18 months of negative growth. President of the Chamber, Miquel Valls, attributes this increase to a new economic model based upon high levels of tourism and exportation, which has boosted activity in the industrial sector. Regarding outlook for the third quarter, the Chamber expects this growth to continue which will improve the business climate within Catalonia.

Empordà Wine Appellation exported 13% more in 2012

July 16, 2013 05:24 PM | ACN / Aïda Rodríguez

The Empordà wine Appellation located in north-eastern Catalonia has seen a significant increase in its export levels in 2012. With more than 40 small cellars and cooperatives, Empordà has a large assortment of red, white and rosé wines. Garnatxa of Empordà, a sweet dessert wine is also a typical drink from this area of Catalonia located in the Costa Brava. The main destinations of Empordà exports were the United States, Germany, Norway, Switzerland and Canada. These exports increased by 13% over last year with more than 750,000 bottles sold abroad from the total 5 million bottles produced.