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In conversation with Carlos Cuerpo, Minister of Economy, Trade and Enterprise of Spain

The Minister of Economy, Commerce, and Enterprise, Carlos Cuerpo, participated on May 8th in Madrid in an event organized by the American Chamber of Commerce in Spain (AmChamSpain), where he met with more than a hundred senior executives from AmChamSpain member companies, including both American and Spanish companies.

During the working breakfast, Cuerpo highlighted the strong performance of the Spanish economy in terms of GDP growth, which was 0.7% in the first quarter of the year, showing a greater recovery compared to other European countries. He also pointed out the investment of more than 30 billion from the Next Generation European funds, describing a tool from the Ministry to analyze where the investments have been made and expressing optimism about the ongoing public investments. Additionally, he announced the creation of public investment instruments, particularly for strategic companies and SMEs, beyond 2027 once all NextGen funds have been invested.

Jaime Malet, President of AmChamSpain, conveyed to the Minister the opportunities for Spain in this historic moment due to changes in globalization that direct investments towards friendly countries, away from conflicts, due to the ability to generate renewable energy and green hydrogen to attract industrial investment, and due to the application of artificial intelligence in the production sector.

Regarding the future of the Spanish economy, Cuerpo stated, "that it will be necessary to continue making the necessary reforms for the improvement of productivity, which has improved in recent years but has been declining for two decades in Spain."

The concept of strategic autonomy was also discussed. Malet conveyed the concern of many American companies, which have been investing in Europe for decades, that such autonomy might serve to create major French and German European champions, not Spanish ones, at the expense of reducing the American presence. The Minister pointed out that the concept of European strategic autonomy does not go against the transatlantic link, which remains vital for both Brussels and the Government of Spain.

08 May 2024
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Interviewing Enrique Tomás, Founder and CEO of Enrique Tomás

This week, we've had the pleasure of having a conversation with Enrique Tomás, Founder and CEO of Enrique Tomás.

Tell us about the history, mission, and values of Enrique Tomás.

Enrique Tomás started as a small stall in the Salud market in Badalona, where I had direct dealings with my customers. 40 years later, we are the most important company in terms of Iberian ham commercialization, as we handle more than 15% of all that is produced, in addition to other types of ham and gastronomic products. Today we are in 11 countries and aim to reach about 30 by 2030. But we are still working towards our goals. Our company's objective is to name the ham in the world, which means that our name should be enough to know that it signifies the best possible ham. But we also have another goal which we see as a responsibility: to put ham in its place. It should be on that podium of select products. For me, it is the best gastronomic product there is, for many nuances. But also for the work that is behind - and in front - of each ham.

Tell us about your professional trajectory and your current role at Enrique Tomás.

I founded the company when I opened my third store, but I have been behind a counter since I was 8 years old helping in my parents' store. Thank God I am still involved in the day-to-day of the company. I have a team of more than 1200 people with me, and my son Albert takes the general direction by my side. This allows me mainly to take care of extraordinary aspects besides knowing everything that happens to be able to be present more and more places and in more and more countries.

What is the element that differentiates you or that you are most proud of in your organization?

No one does what we do. That is our differential value. We are not ham producers, we are selectors. But we don't select brands or producers, we select piece by piece, ham by ham, with a quality process that we have perfected for over 40 years. This grants us two very important aspects: flexibility and guarantee. Flexibility because we are not obliged to sell something we have produced or developed, we sell only what we want and what we are sure meets absolutely unique criteria of excellence. Therefore, it is a guarantee. If a ham is Enrique Tomás, it is because it has passed through a chain of very demanding criteria to become so. Just like in sports. In national sections, only the best players and professionals from each country are present, and also those who are in the best shape. The same goes for us, only Enrique Tomás will be the best ham and this in the end is a guarantee for the customer. Because people when they buy ham are not looking to save, they are looking for pleasure. Good ham is the one that gives pleasure… and with us, that is a starting point.

Why are Spain and the United States important for your company?

The United States is a strategic market for us. Culturally, our gastronomy and culture are of high interest to Americans. This is demonstrated by the impressive number of tourists from the U.S. each year (we are always one of the two countries with the most tourism in the world, and the U.S. is one of the main sources of our visitors). But it is also because in the U.S. the culture of Spanish and Hispanic origin is of great tradition and Spanish products are very well regarded. Spanish wine or ham are two major "flags" that people in the U.S. appreciate. That's why we have stores in the country and among our objectives is to increase this presence. Why did you choose to partner with AmChamSpain? Because it is extremely important to know the audience you relate to, and the society in which you are involved. I am very aware of the relevance of networking, I have worked on it all my life. And the AmCham carries out very positive work to build ties and relationships between companies and interest groups that see the U.S. as a priority market, both in origin and in our country, with the number of activities and actions they carry out.

07 May 2024
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In conversation with José Luis Escrivá, minister for Digital Transformation and Public Function

The Minister for Digital Transformation and Public Function, José Luis Escrivá, participated on February 21 in an event organized by AmChamSpain where he met with more than 100 senior executives from our member companies, involving them in "his commitment to the modernization of the country, especially in the Public Administrations, through the use of technologies, especially leveraging the potential of artificial intelligence."

During the working lunch, the president of AmChamSpain, Jaime Malet, endorsed the roadmap presented by the ministry, stating that "the focus should be on the use of technology, not on increasing regulation." Furthermore, Malet ensured that AmChamSpain and its members are willing to collaborate to drive the digitalization of the productive fabric, especially of SMEs.

For his part, Escrivá stated that "the public administration must catalyze initiatives that promote digital transformation," taking into account Spain's leadership in terms of connectivity and its ability to attract and generate talent in the STEM sector. Specifically, the minister has outlined plans to turn Spain into a technological hub, mentioning measures to attract talent with post-doctoral scholarships and ease in obtaining visas for technology workers. He has also outlined the advantages of Spain to attract investment due to the quality of its connectivity, capacity for renewable energy production, and Spain's geographical and geopolitical position.

Regarding the modernization of Public Administrations and their public procurement processes, Malet emphasized the importance of prioritizing reliable and secure technology over the cheapest option. In this regard, he stressed the need to prioritize criteria of security and innovation to guarantee the resilience of critical infrastructures in Spain.

On the other hand, Malet pointed out the interest of AmChamSpain's members in participating in the development of the open strategic autonomy of the European Union and Spain, attracting investments to the country. In this context, he mentioned investments made in the construction of data regions in recent years and the commitment to the design and development of semiconductors through new projects.

In response to investments, Escrivá assured that "Spain is a good place to invest," but for this, it is necessary to deepen further into public-private collaboration. Spain enjoys a geostrategic position on the world map, and therefore, it must consolidate itself as one of the main destinations for European and American investment in Europe.

Finally, Malet made a call to avoid the introduction of protectionist measures that may discriminate against the role of U.S.-based companies operating in the European Union, with the aim of maintaining a conducive environment for foreign investment in innovation and high-value-added projects. Changing the concept of strategic autonomy to that of strategic interdependence with companies from allied countries.

We thank the Minister for his participation, as well as the Official Sponsors of 2024 for making this event possible: Amazon Web Services, Bristol Myers Squibb, Coca Cola, Delta, Gilead, Google, Nippon Gases, and Santander.

21 Feb 2024