Eventos

Spain on the Global Stage: 2020 Concordia Europe - AmChamSpain Summit

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On March 24, leaders gather in Madrid for the second Concordia Europe – AmChamSpain Summit. We speak to Matthew Swift, Co-Founder, Chairman & CEO of Concordia, and Jaime Malet, Chairman of AmChamSpain, to get an insight into the changing European landscape and what to expect from this year’s Summit.

 

Following a period of prolonged uncertainty, domestic instability, and political deadlock, Spain has a new government in place—and it marks the country’s first coalition government since democracy was restored in 1978. In a Europe dominated by shifting alliances, Spain has the power to not only shape the outlook for the European Union (EU), but to influence the global community at large. On March 24, leaders gather in Madrid for the second Concordia Europe – AmChamSpain Summit. We speak to Matthew Swift, Co-Founder, Chairman & CEO of Concordia, and Jaime Malet, Chairman of AmChamSpain, to get an insight into the changing European landscape and what to expect from this year’s Summit.

 

 

After years of political instability, Spain now has a new government in place. Jaime, what does this new government mean for Spain and for Spain’s position on the global stage?

 

 

After a long period of political instability, a new coalition government has finally been formed and President Sánchez was sworn in this past 7th of January, 2020. We now have the first coalition government since the restoration of democracy, and it is faced with challenges such as external debt, the territorial crisis in Catalonia, and others that are common for many countries of Europe, for example political polarization, Brexit, and environmental emergencies. Several of the new government’s cabinet members seem keen on addressing these issues and showcase the strength and potential Spain has to offer on a global stage. As Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Spain, I am hopeful that the government will push for economic reform, allowing Spain to continue attracting foreign direct investment and increasing the competitiveness of Spanish companies. Of course, we work toward strengthening the relationship between Spain and the United States, keeping in mind common areas of influence, such as Latin America and North Africa.

 

With the purpose of creating public-private partnerships, Concordia Summits tackle a wide range of issues: the future of work, women’s empowerment, healthcare, human rights and international relations, among many others. Matt, could you share an example of a public-private partnership that took place thanks to one of your Summits?

  

Concordia designs its Summits and year-round programming to support the partnering ecosystem. Whether we’re announcing a global partnership on our stage and inspiring companies and governments to take similar courses of action, whether our programming is informing and shaping partnering and market strategies, whether our workshops and private sessions are building skill sets and knowledge on the mechanics of partnering, or whether our curated networking and partnership development efforts are linking our members with new partners, a Concordia Summit is contributing to how and why the global community is partnering for impact. We hear from our members that they made a critical connection or gained a new resource, or that they acquired information essential to a strategic growth decision, at our Summit, and we love being a catalytic force for their partnerships. One impact investment group even felt confident to expand operations into Colombia because of the networks we provided them with through the Concordia Innovative Financing Coalition!

 

The future of the EU, the Venezuelan crisis, and global refugee and migration dynamics are just a handful of the many issues explored at last year’s inaugural Concordia Europe – AmChamSpain Summit. Which topics are likely to come under the spotlight this year, Jaime? 

The 2020 Europe Summit will address some of the topics addressed in last year’s Summit in more depth (to view last year’s report, click here). For example, last year we addressed the future of the EU from a very general standpoint, whereas this year we will delve into issues more specifically affecting the EU, such as the development of 5G and Brexit. We will also build out programming around themes left unaddressed, such as the climate crisis, youth employment, and entrepreneurship.

 

Matt, 2020 is a special year for Concordia as it marks its 10-year anniversary. Over the years your events have grown, and you’ve tapped into new markets, including Spain. What do you find unique about Concordia’s arrival in Europe, specifically in Spain? What expectations do you have for the next 10 years?  

 

What feels particularly unique is our ability to provide a forum for nonpartisan debate. Against a backdrop of unprecedented political development, marked by division, fragmentation, and polarization, the European continent is entering a new era. And it feels that Concordia really has a role to play here: to drive progress from an objective, nonpartisan perspective. We’re proud to be working with a really diverse range of corporates, nonprofits, government entities, academic institutions, students, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders, and the opportunity to bring these partners to Spain and, similarly, to bring Spanish and European organizations to New York City during the UN General Assembly week, is of huge importance. Over the next 10 years, we’re looking to grow our network, expand our reach, and further our impact, and I’m confident that—along with our partners—we can achieve this. 

To attend the 2020 Concordia Europe – AmChamSpain Summit, click here

About AmChamSpain: The American Chamber of Commerce in Spain (AmChamSpain) is part of the AmCham network distributed in 108 countries, which in turn is part of the US Chamber of Commerce. AmChamSpain is an apolitical and non-profit institution created in 1917, which has about 300 associated companies, among them, the majority of large American companies established in Spain and large Spanish companies with presence in the US, as well as a significant group of SMEs from both countries. As a member-based organization, the Chamber organizes regular encounters with world leaders, businessmen and politicians as part of its ongoing commitment to serving some of America’s largest companies.

 

16 Mar 2020

Dialogue with Isabel Díaz Ayuso, President of the Community of Madrid

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On February 27th we celebrated a dialogue with Isabel Díaz Ayuso, President of the Community of Madrid, at the InterContinental Hotel Madrid.

  

With the aim of addressing the vast majority of issues affecting the Community of Madrid and the Spanish economy, Ayuso presented the political, economic and social objectives of the regional government she chairs.

  

Jaime Malet, president of AmChamSpain, opened this morning session by mentioning three priorities of the Chamber: attracting US investment in Spain, promoting Spanish investment in the US. and improving the competitiveness of the Spanish economy.

 

Ayuso began her intervention by mentioning the United States as a “country of reference throughout the world” and the will of the regional government to “strengthen ties” with the country. Ayuso took the opportunity to add that “the government of the most connected region in Europe” identifies with the values ​​of liberal democracy. “We are in favor of the freedom that must be given to people to employ and to take risks,” Ayuso said.

 

Regarding the economic growth of Madrid, the president announced that the regional economy grew by 3% in 2019, assuming the 6th consecutive year of positive results for Madrid’s GDP. Madrid was the region that grew the most during the last 3 years and has been reducing taxes for 15. The president also expressed her rejection of the imposition of the digital tax.

 

During the round of questions, Ayuso highlighted Madrid’s commitment to dual professional training, the specialization of universities and, above all, the employment of young people regardless of the educational itinerary they choose.

 

“American businessmen have a European friend in Madrid, a solid, strong and responsible ally”.

27 Feb 2020

The Global Public Image of the United States

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On January 20th, we had the opportunity to celebrate the event “Global Public Image of the United States” with Dr. Richard Wike, principal investigator of Pew Research Center.

 

During the seminar, Dr. Wike presented the Global Public Opinion of the US study which centered on quantifying the international image of the US and world confidence in its president. In most of the countries studied, there is a general lack of trust towards the US president. and when compared to other current world leaders, President Trump is the leader that generates less confidence worldwide.

 

The global average has been 67% that show no confidence compared to 26% that do. This ratio is 78% and 21% respectively in Spain. According to the data shown, those who share political ideals more aligned to the right, tend to have a more favorable vision towards the president and his foreign policy -in Spain, support for Donald Trump has risen from 9% in 2018 to 31% in 2019 among the conservative public.

 

When the US places barriers or withdraws from international agreements, “it generates a lot of opposition in terms of global public opinion.” The “roll back” in international affairs has been one of the most pressing reasons for these bad grades, however, Dr. Wike recalled that the US was also heavily criticized when it interfered in the affairs of other countries, especially during the presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. 

 

According to this report, China and the US continue to be perceived as the most important economies worldwide. Above all, in western Europe, China is considered the most powerful country at an economic level. However, overwhelmingly, a large part of the world’s population prefers the US as a leading economic power against China and “wants the US to play a role it is not currently playing.”

  

Dr. Wike said that the US scientific and technological sector tends to generate a lot of admiration. American companies as well as the American culture (series, films, etc.) contribute to maintain a positive vision towards the US “even in periods of transatlantic tension.”

Pew Research Center has been investigating US views and confidence it its presidentes over the last 20 years. For this report, data from a survey conducted in 33 countries from May 18 to October 2, 2019, with a total of 36,923 respondents were used. For more information, we invite you to read the report through this link.

 

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20 Jan 2020

Youngs Leaders Network Kick-off

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On January 16, we celebrated the official kick-off of the 1st edition of AmChamSpain’s Young Leaders Network (YLN) at Google Campus Madrid.

 

YLN is a professional training program aimed at young professionals from AmChamSpain member companies. This is an initiative that AmChamSpain’sExecutie Director, Aida Casamitjana, has wanted to promote for years in order to “create a community of young talent within AmChamSpain, and offer them a training and networking platform.”

  

The program was immediately supported by the Chamber’s Board of Directors.  “When the idea was presented to the Board they welcomed the proposal with great enthusiasm, especially for the possibility selecting professionals within their company to join,” said Casamitjana.

 

The program has been very well received among AmChamSpain members as well. Since its call for participants in December, more than 60 young professionals have joined. “We hope this program will serve to boost young talent through professional training programs and networking activities, with the support of our member’s capabilities,” said Jaime Malet, president of AmChamSpain.

  

This project was born with the idea of ​​being able to offer various professional development activities,and thanks to the interest shown by member companies, it is being possible to utilize the expertise of each company and hold numerous workshops on communication skills and leadership. In addition, social events with inspiring speakers as well as afterwork activities will serve to foster a solid network of young talent.

 

To be part of this program, it is necessary to be an employee of an AmChamSpain member company and be less than 40 years old at the time of registration. In this edition, participants have been selected by the corresponding delegate of their companies.

 

16 Jan 2020

AmChamSpain Christmas Cocktail Party

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On December 12th, AmChamSpain celebrated its traditional Christmas cocktail party in collaboration with Vanity Fair at Palacio Neptuno in Madrid.

 

This cocktail party, attended by over 250 guests, brought together some of the most well-known political and business leaders. Among them, José Manuel González-Paramo, executive director of BBVA, Irene Cano, General Manager of Facebook, Paloma Beamonte, President of Xerox, María Rio, Vice President of Gilead Sciences, Javier Targhetta, President of Atlantic Copper, Jason Wild, Vice President of Salesforce, Laura García-Molero, President of the APD, Cristina Gallach, High Commissioner for the 2030 Agenda in Spain, Eloy Velasco, National High Court judge, José Manuel Villegas, acting President of Ciudadanos and Tita Astolfi, candidate for the Congress of Deputies for Partido Popular in the last elections.

 

During his welcome speech, AmChamSpain’sChairman, Jaime Malet, highlighted several achievements celebrated by the Chamber this year, including the long-awaited ratification by the US Senate of the Protocol Amending U.S.-Spain Tax Treaty as well as the organization of the 2019 Europe Summit in Madrid, in collaboration with Concordia, an entity that holds one of the most important Summits in New York during the week of the United Nations General Assembly. Malet also emphasized what will be the priority of the Chamber for the next three years: working toward the adaptation of the business community to the principles of responsible investment (PRI) and the incorporation of measurable criteria in favor of the environment, society and good governance (Environmental, Social & Governance, or ESG).

 

Aida Casamitjana, Executive Director of AmChamSpain, led the Delta Air Lines and MCE raffle and thanked event sponsors and partners, as well as the Chamber’s staff for their continued support throughout the year.

 

Once again, we would like to thank our event sponsors, without which this would not have been possible:

 

Philip Morris, American Express, Amgen, Atlantic Copper, Delta Air Lines, Estrella Damm, Facebook, Mary Kay, Management Center Europe, Nippon Gases, Royal Bliss, Santander and Suez

 

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12 Dec 2019

An inside look: The 2020 US Election

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Mr. Jon Decker, White House correspondent for Fox News Radio was our guest speaker at the seminar we held on the upcoming US elections on November 25th at the IE School of Public Affairs.

 

During the seminar, Decker reviewed the electoral process as well as Donald Trump’s presidency. As it was proved in 2016 elections, “the popular vote does not determine the next President in the US. For example, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 3 million votes in 2016”, recalled Decker.

 

To become President of the US it is necessary to have more than 270 electoral votes. In the last elections, 304 electoral votes were registered for the Republican Party and 227 for the Democratic Party, representing an “overwhelming victory” for the current President. 

 

Regardless of who the candidate elected by the Democrats will be, if the presidential election had taken place on the same day of our event, Decker estimated the following electoral result: 232 votes would go to the Democratic party while 260 votes would go to the Republican party.  “However, it will not be easy for President Donald Trump. There are three states that will determine who will be the next President: Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin”, said Decker. 

 

These states, traditionally won by the Democratic party, surprised many political experts in 2016 when they went to the Republican Party. They represent 20, 16 and 10 electoral votes respectively. Current polling reflects that the President has lost strength in these states and the Democratic party is ready to fully recover them. Decker referred to the celebration of the National Convention in Wisconsin as one of the most significant measures the Democratic party has taken to this effect.

 

Decker stated that many Republican voters maintain their favorable opinion towards Trump because the President “keeps or at least tries to keep his electoral promises”. According to Decker, when asked what they like most about their President, the majority refer to the changes he has made in Washington, his attitude towards immigration and the position he has taken toward China.

 

The event concluded with questions from the public about the impeachment process, which according to Decker, “will not change the dynamics because it does not seem that any Republican will vote to remove the President.”

 

“There are challenges for both parties and obviously the presidential elections will be very, very close”, affirmed Decker.

 

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25 Nov 2019

Approval of Protocol amending U.S - Spain Tax Treaty

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AmChamSpain is pleased to share that the US Senate has ratified the protocol amending the tax treaty between the United States and Spain. The protocol will enter into force on November 27th, 2019.

 

Throughout the past 10 years, AmChamSpain has promoted the modernization and modification of a new protocol. For this reason, we have created within our Fiscal Committee, a Task Force with experts in international taxation from the following different law firms; Baker & Mckenzie, Cuatrecasas, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, Garrigues, KPMG, PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Uría Menéndez, all of which are currently members of the Chamber. Notably, we urged Governments to modify the articles of the protocol that affected the treatment of capital gains, dividends, fees and interests.

 

The tax treaty that was in force prior to the modification, was of the year 1990, and it was based on different economic and commercial necessities than those of today. Therefore, that is why the US and Spanish governments have decided to modify the protocol in a way that it suits the current economic and commercial reality. The introduction of measures to avoid double taxation and preventing tax evasion will boost the Spanish economy by stimulating bilateral investment. The new protocol will provide security and certainty when conducting business in both Spain and the United States and promote fair and free trade.

 

In relation to the modifications of the protocol, some of the changes that have been made are the following; incorporation of arbitration procedures and new conciliation mechanisms, an extension of the minimum time to consider a permanent establishment, and both the withholding tax on interest for banks and the withholding of royalties have been eliminated.

 

Our President, Jaime Malet, has declared that the new protocol, “will benefit Spain as an investing destination for US companies in comparison to other European countries that until now have had better agreements, and therefore this will boost the Spanish companies whose subsidiaries compete with other foreign parent companies with a fiscal framework which was until now more favorable in the US ”.

 

On that account, we have organized an informational forum in relation to the new protocol which will take place at the Instituto Estudios Fiscales in Madrid on October 29th. This event will involve the participation of the representatives of the firms that take part in TaskForce of our Fiscal Committee.

 

For more information about the event: http://bit.ly/2MABfc4

29 Oct 2019

Tax Panel: Ratification of the protocol amending the Double Taxation Treaty

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On October 29th, AmChamSpain held a fiscal forum to discuss the updates provided by the last modification of the Convention to avoid Double Taxation between the United States and Spain and prevent tax evasion.

 

The opening of the seminar was starred by Jaime Malet, Chairman of AmChamSpain, Alain Cuenca, General Director of the Institute of Fiscal Studies and Christy Agor, Economic Counselor of the US Embassy in Spain. Mr. Malet mentioned the years of effort the Chamber has invested in leading this process, which since 2006 has been one of the driving forces of this modification.

 

He also thanked the involvement of the representatives of different law firms that formed the working group within the AmChamSpain Fiscal Committee to achieve the amendment of this Agreement: Baker & McKenzie, Cuatrecasas, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, Garrigues, KPMG, PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Uría Menéndez. “With the ratification of the Protocol for the modification of the Double Taxation Agreement, years of blockade are left behind, allowing companies to increase their internationalization plans” stated Christy Agor, the Economic Counselor of the US embassy in Spain.

 

Luis Manuel Viñuales, Partner of Garrigues and Ana Fernández-Daza, Minister of Finance of the Embassy of Spain in the US, reviewed the context of international taxation and the process of ratification and signature of the Protocol. In addition, Férnandez-Daza pointed out the important role of companies in obtaining their ratification, among them, he mentioned Iberdrola, Banco Santander, Consentino, Gestamp and the Acerinox Group.

 

In the first panel on the benefits provided by the modifications of the Agreement to avoid Double Taxation, the updates regarding dividends and interests were discussed, as well as the advantages it offers to companies’ branches, transparent entities, pension funds and REITs. This panel was attended by tax experts from PricewaterhouseCoopers, Uría Menéndez, Baker McKenzie, KPMG, BBVA, Procter & Gamble and the Acerinox Group.

 

In the second panel, the challenges for the application of the Agreement were addressed. It mainly focused on the mandatory arbitration clause, the tests mentioned in the article 17th and the compatibility – or in the case of ‘BITs’ (Bilateral Investment Treaties), incompatibility – with US law. Cuatrecasas, EY, and Deloitte shared their observations while Elena de las Morenas, Deputy Director of International Taxation of the Ministry of Finance and representatives of 3M and Iberdrola shared practical advice for private companies.

 

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29 Oct 2019

Cocktail with U.S Government Officials in Barcelona

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Last Friday, October 4th, we had the opportunity to receive in Barcelona a delegation of US government officials who were visiting Spain, led by the Honorable Richard Shelby, Senator for Alabama and Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

 

Representatives of the US Senate and Congress who attended were Senators Richard Shelby (R-AL), Chairman, Senate Appropriations Committee, Mike Enzi, (R-WY), Chairman, Senate Budget Committee, Mike Crapo (R-ID), Chairman Senate Committee on Banking, Deb Fischer (R-NE), Senate Armed Services Committee, John Kennedy (R-LA), Senate Appropriations Committee, Congresswoman Kay Granger (R-  TX),Ranking Member, House Appropriations Committee, who were accompanied by the U.S. General Consul in Barcelona, Robert Riley.

 

The meeting was attended by representatives AmChamSpain’s member companies: Abertis, Banco de Sabadell, CaixaBank, Consentino, Gomez-Acebo and Pombo Abogados, Grifols, HPE and HP.

 

In his speech, Senator Richard Shelby put emphasis on the noteworthy presence of Spanish companies in the U.S. and expressed the importance of this bilateral relationship for the US government.

 

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04 Oct 2019

Concordia Europe - AmChamSpain Summit 2019

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On June 26, AmChamSpain convened hundreds of experts to address the necessary collaboration between the public and private sectors on issues such as the European Union, relations with Latin America and Africa, gender equality, the situation in Venezuela, the migration and refugee crisis, among many other topics that affect Spain, Europe and the world.

 

The President of the Congress of Deputies, Meritxell Batet, gave the inaugural speech during which she emphasized the importance of collaboration and dialogue between the public and private sectors: “Today, there are no important decisions that can be adopted from the solitude of a public office, globalization also requires a dialogue between public institutions and private actors.”

 

For the President of AmChamSpain, Jaime Malet,the agreement reached between the Chamber and Concordia to organize this event will help “make Spain a global center to develop large public-private collaboration projects and improve international relations with Europe, the Mediterranean, Africa and Latin America.”

 

Among many others, the event counted on the participation of former Presidents of Spain, José María Aznar and José Luís Rodríguez Zapatero, as well as Pablo Casado, Cristina Gallach, María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, Joaquín Almunia and Josep Piqué. Likewise, former Presidents Álvaro Uribe (Colombia) and Jorge Quiroga (Bolivia) also participated. As well as Emma Navarro, (Vice President – European Investment Bank), Nasser Kamel (Secretary General – Union for the Mediterranean), Helena Herrero (President – HP Spain and Portugal), Trinidad Jiménez (Director of Global Strategy for Public Affairs – Telefónica), Alfonso Bosch (CEO – Equatorial Coca-Cola) and Manuel Muñiz (Dean – IE University). The Summit also hosted U.S. Ambassador to Spain and Andorra, Richard Duke Buchan III, U.S. Ambassador to the EU, Gordon Sondland, and White House adviser, Tim Pataki. The event also featured Inspiring Girl of the Year, 10-year-old YouTuber Valeria Corrales, who shared her thoughts on girls in STEM fields.

 

The Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Reyes Maroto, closed the event with a keynote address affirming “protectionism and populism in no case improve the welfare of citizens.” She also emphasized the importance of good trade relations for the Spanish economy.

 

The event gather 532 attendees with 63 speakers.

 

Concordia Europe – AmChamSpain Summit 2019 counted on the support of the following sponsors: AirEuropa, Dow, Equatorial Coca-Cola, El Consorci Zona Franca, HP, LIT-USA, y Telefónca. 

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26 Jun 2019

Audience with the King :Concordia Europe - AmChamSpain Summit 2019

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On Tuesday, June 25, King Felipe VI received the Governing Board of AmChamSpain and the Leadership Council of Concordia to celebrate the first Concordia Europe—AmChamSpain Summit in Madrid.

 

The King greated the Chairman of AmChamSpain, Jaime Malet, and the co-founders of Concordia, Matthew Swift and Nicholas M. Logothetis before welcoming the Chamber’s Board and Concordia’s Leadership Council.

 

After the group photo, a meeting took place behind closed doors in which the informed the King of the subjects being considered at the Summit the following day.

 

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25 Jun 2019

AmChamSpain Communique: priorities leading up to the general elections

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The Board of Directors of AmChamSpain has approved the following statement in order to inform public opinion in the lead up to the General Elections on April 28.

 

In the context of a global economic slowdown, Spain is showing moderately positive prospects in economic growth as a whole—2.1% GDP growth for 2019 and 1.9% expected for 2020 against a Eurozone average of 1% and 1.2% respectively—and, particularly in job creation.

 

Spain’s economic recovery since 2012 has been based on specific factors, some endogenous—structural reforms and painful internal devaluation amongst families and companies that have improved their global competitiveness—and others exogenous—expansive monetary policy by the ECB and low oil prices.

 

Despite the risks at present in the international arena (Brexit, crisis in important Eurozone countries, global trade tensions), it seems that the key exogenous factors for Spain (low interest rates and low oil prices) are going to stay positive for the time being.

 

Thus, we believe that the Spanish economy could continue to have an important growth margin as a result of job creation, which improves family consumption rates and government revenues for the Administration. By our accounts, this growth could be even higher than official predictions depending on how the priorities we outline in this communiqué are addressed.

 

Without a doubt, Spain has great potential: ever more competitive companies, enviable transportation infrastructure, exponential growth in the entrepreneurial class and an important tourist attraction.

 

So that the Government that comes away successfully from the upcoming elections may take advantage of this great potential, we relay—with all the due humility of an apolitical organization like ours—what we consider to be some of the principal priorities.

1. Create massive high quality jobs that can adapt to technological disruptions. Spain still has an unemployment rate of 14%, higher than all other OECD countries, especially amongst youngsters. The advances in robotics and Artificial Intelligence are going to continue to dominate manual labor in the production process. On the other hand, the lack of employment is the gravest injustice and creates the largest inequalities. Therefore, we believe that the main objective of the new Government should be to reduce unemployment to at least 10% in the next four years, preparing the labor market for upcoming disruptions and focusing especially on reducing youth unemployment. A growing employment rate will help sustain the pension system and improve the prospects for the economy thanks to a boost of internal consumption. In this sense, we advocate for a greater labor market flexibility and active job creation policies together with a national effort on the part of public administrations and societal actors for a real contingency plan for job re-training or the National Plan for Retraining the labor market in a way that adaptation over the next few years to a new technological landscape is swift and as undisruptive as possible.

2. Reduce public and foreign debt. Spain has one of the bulkiest net debts in the OECD, approximately 77% of the GDP, and a public debt that reaches 100% of the GDP and has not stop growing in the past several years. This double indebtedness keeps Spain in a position of extreme weakness leading up to the next crisis, and supposes a loss of sovereignty which jeopardizes future generations. The new Government should prioritize fiscal consolidation and the reduction of production costs associated with exports. Our members, especially multinationals with foreign headquarters, complain that fiscal insecurity (with dozens of annual reforms to the corporate tax code) and, in general, the expansion of regulations and ineffective administrative interference in economic activity are constant. The redundancy of administrative forms from different government agencies and the division of a small market between 17 autonomous administrations generate a burden for the economy and its productive capacity. In this sense, we suggest a thorough revision of the efficiency of public expenses, a fight to reduce the informal economy, improvements to tax codes (especially to corporate taxes), greater harmonization between autonomous legislatures and the oversight and suppression, if necessary, of administrative obstacles.

3. Improve Education and its Adaptability to Technological Changes. Spain has an improvable education system, as much in schools (especially in reading comprehension and mathematics) as in universities (there are no Spanish universities in the top 150 in the World according to the two main rankings). On the other hand, Spanish education can be too highly focused on memorization with little academic flexibility, deficient in its treatment of ICT. Soft skills (public speaking, negotiations, languages, etc.) tend to shine in the absence of more technical ones. A country needs to prepare its youth for excellence, especially in times of high technological disruptions and global competition; and it is condemned for failure to secure these. We believe that the new legislature must prioritize widely agreed upon education reform that is pragmatic, attracts and retains productive talent and is sustainable over time. Amongst other measures, we advocate for introducing a stronger meritocracy in the education system so that teachers are attracted from all around the globe and retained and incentivized according to their periodically and objectively evaluated merits. Furthermore, we believe it necessary to deeply reform the entire education system, especially the university and vocational systems, which, with the consensus of the new Government, agents for social change, business associations, companies and university, can continue to provide young people the skills they need to adapt to technological changes in the workplace.

4. Betting on Innovation. The investment in R & D in Spain (1.19% of GDP) is clearly inferior to the developed country average. As such, Spain enjoys a solid scientific production but one that does not correspond to the number of registered patents. The new Government should try to increase public and private investments in research and development (through an increase in fiscal incentives and improved legal security) with the EU goal of 3% of GDP. Similarly, it should strengthen the link between the research community and the productive sector, and a stronger commitment to intellectual property rights.

5. Institutional quality. The neutrality of institutions is fundamental for the stability of the entire system. In Spain, many are used as political tools—partisan broadcasting, school and university education and support offices for foreign trade for some regions, to name a few. This politicization has taken place in many examples outside the frame of the law. A country cannot allow such a destabilizing system to continue to abuse public institutions. Therefore, the Chamber proposes the establishment of systems of good governance and monitoring ex ante, improving the supervisory mechanisms of the legal system.

6. Spain’s image around the world. Another important challenge is better international recognition for Spain’s economic importance and for some of our country’s major achievements over the past decades (one of the countries with the best health systems, high safety and security, strong companies, etc.). The heads of Spanish multinational companies face many questions that suggest a lack of information on the part of investors. For their part, the directors of multinationals with affiliates in Spain face many of the same challenges when asking for more resources. Even though there has been great improvement and Spain has dedicated many resources, the country continues to appear as a footnote for international press, except when we produce negative news. We believe that it is fundamental for attracting greater international investment that the new Government has as one of its priorities the improvement in representation of Spanish businesses and institutions at international forums and the constant duty to Public Relations with the foreign press, particularly in the English speaking world.

7. Finally, Spain has been in a state of limbo since the 2015 General Elections, which hurts businesses interested in long-term investments and impedes politicians to make lasting, impactful decisions for the improvement of investment and family wellbeing. Because of this situation, we believe it is necessary that political parties reach maximum consensus to govern for the totality of their mandate and reach widely-shared agreements on the main themes that will dictate the future of Spain in the next few decade. Amongst those themes are the points highlighted above.

28 Apr 2019

Conversation with Josep Borrell

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On March 11, Josep Borrell, Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, was the protagonist of the series Dialogues on Competitiveness, Productivity and Internationalization of the Spanish Economy of AmChamSpain.

 

During his speech, the Minister reviewed the Spanish economy and recalled that growth has been above the average of the European Union for 5 consecutive years. Borrell made reference to the favorable position of Spain in terms of trade, “we have a surplus in international trade and have witnessed a spectacular internationalization of our economy.”

 

The minister defended the importance of the relationship between the United States and Spain, especially for Spain’s prosperity and the world economy.

 

With regard to investment, despite the current territorial conflict that “has damaged the country’s image and withdrawn investment,” Spain is a healthy country, endowed with excellent infrastructures and infinite public security. For Borrell, “Spain is not a country where investor should be afraid” because it counts on a highly qualified workforce and it’s judicial system is no less secure than that of any other Western country.

 

The event concluded with a round of questions regarding the role that the European Union and Spain should play to strengthen its economy and international prestige. In this context, Borrell emphasized the need to take advantage of the investment opportunities presented by developing countries and “be at the level of what the world expects from a country like Spain.”

 

 

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11 Mar 2019

Diversity Series: Diversity on Boards

#amchamspain

On March 6th, the Gender Diversity & Inclusion Committee of AmChamSpain and PriceWaterhouseCoopers held a round table titled “Diversity Series: Diversity on Boards” with the objective of analyzing the latest developments in diversity and share tips on how to obtain positions on administrative boards. 

On this special occasion, speakers included: Beatriz Faro, Regional President – IDM Internal Medicine, Pfizer; Isabel Linares, Senior Counselor, PwC Spain and Consejera independiente; Marta Colomina, Managing Director Marketing, RSC y Fundación de PwC; Beatriz Puente, CFO, NH Hotels Group. Consejera y Presidente, Comité de Auditoría de Metrovacesa; Emma Fernández, Consejera y presidente del Comité de Nombramientos y Retribuciones de Metrovacesa. Consejera de Ezentis, Axway and other companies; Marta Gil-Casares, coach y asesor de carrera profesional; and Pilar de Santiago, Managing Partner, Heidrick & Struggles.

For Marta Colomina, administrative boards are experimenting changes in various areas, including the process of searching and selecting candidates. She affirmed that this process has become more “professionalized” and new directors are increasingly being identified thanks to recommendations and proposals from head-hunters.

The speakers referred to their personal and professional journeys and offered advice to our members on how to gain access to positions on administrative boards. They highlighted the importance of gaining experience, training and visibility, as well as personal development and networking.

06 Mar 2019

Meeting with the US Ambassador Richard Duke Buchan III

#amchamspain

On February 26, coinciding with the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona, ​​we had the honor of organizing a private meeting with the U.S. Ambassador to Spain and Andorra, the Hon. Richard Duke Buchan III, ​​a delegation of the U.S. government visiting the congress and representatives of Telefónica, Google, Netflix, AT&T, Cisco Systems, MasterCard, HPE and Vimeo.

 

The members of the US government delegation included: Ajit Pai, Chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, David Redl, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Internet of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Robert Strayer, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Cyber ​​and Internet Communications and Information Policy of the U.S. Department of State, and Brian Bulatao, Senior Advisor of the U.S. Department of State. They were accompanied by Robert Riley, Consul General of the United States in Spain.

 

During the meeting, that took place at the Hotel Majestic in Barcelona, various topics were discussed: 5G, the creation of a global ethics regime, innovation, privacy, investment in technology and R&D, cybersecurity and relations with China.

 

Read in PDF

See photo gallery

26 Feb 2019

Concordia Europe - AmChamSpain Summit

#amchamspain

It is an honor for AmChamSpain to announce the agreement reached with Concordia, one of the leading non-governmental organizations worldwide, based in New York, for the organization of the annual Concordia Europe – AmChamSpain Forum.

 

The event will take place on June 26 in Madrid and will provide an exceptional platform to analyze and debate current issues in Spain, the United States and Europe.

 

The Concordia Europe – AmChamSpain Forum will bring together policy makers, CEOs, and experts in different fields to address the most pressing economic, geopolitical and business issues of the moment. Some topics of the program will include: the key technologies that are driving the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the future of the European Union, the new scenario of international trade, US-Europe relations, and the role of Spain, in relation to Latin America and Africa and the factors driving the rise of populism in Western countries.

 

In the coming weeks, we will announce more details about the Concordia Europe – AmChamSpain Forum.

 

If you need more information, you may contact Sharlene Alonso, Communications and Events Manager: salonso@amchamspain.com.

 

About Concordia:

Concordia is a global organization dedicated to fostering public-private partnerships for social impact. Its Leadership Council includes prominent members of different US administrations, former presidents of Bolivia, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Spain, Mexico, Nigeria, Poland, Portugal, Uruguay, the European Commission and world leaders of multinational corporations such as The Coca-Cola Company, Dow Chemical, JP Morgan Chase, KKR, and Babson College.

 

Concordia organizes three regional events (Africa, Latin America and now Europe), and its Annual Summit during the week of the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York brings together leaders of governments and companies from around the world, such as Iván Duque, President from Colombia; Alexis Tsipras, President of Greece; HRH Crown Princess Maria of Denmark; Joe Biden,former vice president of the United States; and Ms. Ivanka Trump, adviser to the President of the United States.

16 Jan 2019

Christmas Cocktail 2018

#amchamspain

On December 4th, the American Chamber of Commerce (AmChamSpain)  celebrated its traditional Christmas cocktail at The Westin Palace. During his welcoming speech, the Chairman of AmChamSpain, Jaime Malet, expressed his gratitude to the members of the Chamber and highlighted the work carried out in strengthening the competitiveness and productivity of the Spanish economy throughout the year. 

He also mentioned AmChamSpain’s main priority for the next three years, which is to work on adapting the productive sector to technological disruptions across different sectors of the Spanish economy.

Out of respect for the death of President George H.W. Bush, the members of the US Embassy excused their assistance. However, the Executive Director of the Chamber, Aida Casamitjana, read a message from the Ambassador of the United States to Spain, the Hon. Richard Duke Buchan III, in which he expressed his desire to continue reinforcing the “close collaboration with AmChamSpain” throughout the following year.

The cocktail, which was attended by over 250 people, concluded with a musical performance by The Broken Peach. Finally, we convey our sincere gratitude to the sponsors of the event, without which it would not have been possible.

 

  • Gold Sponsors: Estrella Damm and Philip Morris
  • Silver Sponsors: American Express, Atlantic Copper, Celgene, Delta Air Lines, Prosegur, Royal Bliss, Santander, SAS, Suez and Zurich
  • Official Sponsors: Celgene, Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines, Gilead and Praxair
  • Media Sponsor: Business Insider
04 Dec 2018

Diversity Series: The Business Value of Diversity

#amchamspain

On November 22nd, the American Chamber of Commerce in Spain (AmChamSpain) and its Gender Diversity & Inclusion Committee held a round table discussion on gender diversity policies and their positive value in companies, entitled Diversity Series: The Business Value of Diversity.

 

This new edition hosted four great speakers at the discussion table: Daniel Carreño, CEO (Spain & Portugal) of General Electric, Beatriz Faro, Regional President IDM Internal Medicine of Pfizer, María del Carmen Quintanilla, Honorary Member and Permanent Congressman in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and former President of the Equality Commission of the Spanish Congress, and Clara de Miguel, Director of communications, media and technology of Accenture.

During the interesting debate moderated by Amber Wigmore, Chief Innovation Officer of Highered EFMD Global Career Services, the four speakers talked about the different programs carried out by their companies to promote diversity, with reference to among other issues, gender and generational diversity in the workplace.

 

The speakers also cited specific actions such as, the diversity of panels during selection processes and the establishment of a suitable policy regarding reconciliation of work and family life for both men and women. In the words of Beatriz Faro: “It is the responsibility of companies to recognize differences between men and women in areas of development such as networking and negotiation, among others” and develop actions to reduce this inequality.

 

All agreed that companies that did not commit to increasing the diversity of their workforce were destined to fail and maintained that diversity increases retention and effectiveness. For all, a diverse pool of employees was a competitive advantage and contributed to the satisfaction and retention of employees as well as better customer service. Clara de Miguel highlighted the fact that diversity has been a key factor in Accenture’s success and acts as a source of creativity and innovation, adding business value and effectiveness.

 

María del Carmen Quintanilla, closed the event by noting that Spain is a reference worldwide on issues of equality and the fight against violence against women “40% of the members of the Parlament are women, but there is still a lot to do, especially in companies.”

22 Nov 2018

Conversation with Nadia Calviño, Minister of Economic Affairs

#amchamspain

Nadia Calviño, Minister of Economic Affairs, was the protagonist of the series Dialogues on Competitiveness, Productivity and Internationalization hosted by AmChamSpain on November 13th in Madrid. During her speech, Calviño reviewed the European and Spanish economic situation, highlighting the growth and dynamism of the national economy in the euro area as a whole.

 

The Minister defended her “confidence in society and the government” emphasizing that Spain maintains a “robust” growth rate with positive economic indicators, especially in terms of employment. Calviño also maintained that the external sector is a great opportunity and a factor that greatly contributes to the growth of the country, emphasizing the “good climate” of business between America and Spain, as well as the positive opinion and confidence that foreign investors have towards Spain.

 

Calviño stressed the need to take advantage of this good moment and not miss the opportunity to address reforms and undertake “a more active economic policy” that will lay the foundations of “sustainable growth in the medium and long term.” One of the government’s main objectives is budgetary consolidation to “reduce the weight of the debt on Spanish GDP” and increase the allocation of financial resources to “more productive purposes for the future of the country such as investment, R & D and education.” In this context, Calviño emphasized the need to strengthen institutions, reduce inequality and increase legal security.

13 Nov 2018

Conversation with Pablo Casado, President of the Spanish Popular Party

#amchamspain

On October 25th, we had the honor of hosting Pablo Casado, President of the Spanish Popular Party, in the latest edition of Dialogues on Competitiveness, Productivity and Internationalization of the Spanish Economy by AmChamSpain.

 

During his speech, the President pointed out the importance of transatlantic relations between the United States (USA) and Spain. According to the President, Atlantic trade flows are the largest in the world and that makes the US and also Spain a powerful player to take into account.

 

He focused on the five key points of the US-Spanish relationship, highlighting that Spain should be a hub for finance, energy, security, education and entrepreneurship. For Pablo Casado it is important that Spain adopt fiscal measures that attract the relocation of financial institutions searching for a new European partner after the Brexit. Regarding energy, the President mentioned that Spain already has the necessary infrastructure to continue innovating together with American companies.

 

“We have the ability to make all of this happen […] and we already have the infrastructure. It is a matter of adopting on fiscal and educational measures, and above all having a sensitive administration. “

 

The event concludes with a round of questions in which the members of the Chamber present their opinions and doubts regarding the President’s speech. The President of AmChamSpain, Jaime Malet, closes the event emphasizing the need to continue intensifying economic and commercial relations between Spain and the US.

25 Oct 2018

Meeting with the Spanish Prime Minister in New York

#amchamspain

On September 26th, we had the honor of organizing a meeting with Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, in New York where we were joined by business leaders heading major multinational companies and the principal investment funds, as well as other global financial stakeholders, with the goal of analyzing the Spanish economy within the European context and explaining the key priorities of the Spanish government.

 

The entities in attendance included: Blackstone, York Capital, Morgan Stanley, Lone Star Funds, AIG, Brookfield, Providence, Citigroup, American Express, Key Square, Centerbridge, Soros, McKinsey & Company and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

 

During the meeting, which was completely off the record, many topics where discussed including: Brexit, Catalonia, Venezuela, banking, renewable energy, populism, tax consolidation, social security, productivity, education,

cybersecurity and the United States.

 

Read statement in PDF

26 Sep 2018

AmCham Dialogue: Luis de Guindos

#amchamspain

Luis de Guindos, minister of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness, was featured in the AmChamSpain Dialoguesseries on March 7 in Madrid. During his remarks, De Guindos reviewed the international, European and Spanish economic situation, highlighting “the bittersweet taste” created by the combination of positive signs of accelerating economic growth and the risks that lie ahead.

 

In this context, De Guindos pointed out the upward trend seen by the Spanish economy for four consecutive years with a surplus of more than 2% of the GDP. According to the minister, this trend was accompanied by “favorable tailwinds” but above all “is the result of the financial and labor reforms that have been carried out, as well as the recovery of domestic demand and the increase in exports of goods and services”. He insisted, however, that it is important to “not be complacent” with this situation and called for shared responsibility in the budget approval process, predicting growth of 2.5% to 3% in the next three to four years, “if we don’t make any mistakes”.

 

 

Finally, De Guindos talked about his vision of the future of transatlantic trade and the US’s new administration, assuring that “the links established between Spain and the United States through the years will continue to be crucial”.

 

Read announcement in PDF

07 Mar 2017

Conversation with the Minister Alfonso Dastís

#amchamspain

Yesterday we had the privilege of hosting the Honorable Alfonso Dastis, Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, in the most recent edition of AmChamSpain’s“Conversation Series.”

 

During his speech, the Minister highlighted not only the historical strength of transatlantic relations between the US and Spain, but also their current potence. According to the Minister, the ties between both counties are enjoying one of their best moments in history, given the period of economic prosperity which we are living worldwide, as well as the investment potential of Spanish companies and the Spanish economy’s high capacity for attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

 

Moreover, Minister Dastis emphasized the high rate of internationalization of the Spanish economy, ranking 5th in the worldwide ranking and 9th in the ranking of largest investors in the US, two figures which clearly illustrate the “solid commercial exchange” which exists between both countries.

 

The Chairman of AmChamSpain, Jaime Malet, concluded the event by offering the support of the 100-year-old institution which he presides, in order to continue fortifying the economic relations between Spain and the US, which both believe will only continue to grow stronger over time.

Read statement in PDF.

25 May 2016

Dialogue with Pablo Casado, Vice-Secretary General of Communication of the Popular Party

#amchamspain

Pablo Casado, vice secretary of communications for the Popular Party, was the guest of the March session of AmChamSpain's Dialogues, sessions that the Chamber organizes periodically so that its members can share current affairs with prominent political and economic leaders. After an introduction to the event and the guest by Jaime Malet, president of AmChamSpain, Casado spoke about his experience in communications, analyzing the current political situation in Spain, Europe and the United States, emphasizing the importance of the Atlantic link in an environment of great geopolitical tension in which "we once again have a common enemy in the form of international terrorism".

09 Mar 2016

AmCham Dialogue: Albert Rivera, Leader of Ciudadanos

#amchamspain

Albert Rivera, leader of Ciudadanos (Citizens) party, was the guest of the Chamber in the series AmChamSpain Dialogues which was held in Madrid on July 2. In the overfull room, Rivera presented the political, economic and social lines of the party he presides over and held interesting discussions with attendees.

 

Jaime Malet, President of AmChamSpain, opened the breakfast symposium by briefly summarizing the economic situation in the country, with particular attention to the implemented reforms, “which are going in the right direction but that are partial and insufficient”, in the still hefty unemployment rate and appealing to the completion of the new production model that should strengthen the economy of Spain after the economic crisis.

 

Rivera, who started his speech by defining Ciudadanos as “more than a party, a project for Spain, competent to lead the new political era in the country and boost the Spanish and European project”, identified three pillars on which this new political era should sustain: a first one, based on the recovery of constitutional values to promote the union of Spain and Europe; a second pillar focused on the reforms of the Justice system -“so that it is independent” – Education -“to turn it into a lever at social and economic level”- Public Administration-“so it works diligently” – and political parties-“to be more like advanced countries”-; and a third one, focused on recovering the Spanish middle working class, “by reducing staff recruitment costs and growing in productivity and training, without wage reduction,” encouraging employers to become allies of the Government in this new political era.

 

In response to questions from the audience, Rivera called for new agreements in energy, labor and business framework providing legal certainty and stability to the country, and also encouraged the improvement of the economic and productive model “so that Spain can return to being compared with the best economies and democracies in Europe”. The leader of Ciudadanos also declared himself in favor of the TTIP agreement being negotiated by the European Union and the United States, “maintaining the bar high on standards and offering a high degree of transparency”, so that “our companies make the best possible benefit from it”.

 

Among the economic proposals offered by Ciudadanos, which emerged in the wake of the questions from attendees, Rivera emphasized the pruning of the public administrative structures, the fight against tax fraud and corruption, the re-industrialization of the country, the attraction of investment as a guarantee of innovation, the promotion of SMEs and the political unity in Spain.

 

The President of AmChamSpain concluded the breakfast Symposium thanking both Rivera and attendees for their involvement and the sponsorship by Coca-Cola and 3M, and providing once again the collaboration of the entity and its members for the construction of the new productive and economic model launched in Spain.

02 Jul 2015

Conversation with Pedro Sánchez, Secretary General of the Spanish Socialist

#amchamspain

PSOE’s Secretary General, as our guest of honor, this past Tuesday, March 10th. More info.

 

This past March 10th we had the opportunity to organize a breakfast with Pedro Sánchez, the PSOE’s Secretary General, at the Westin Palace Hotel in Madrid. This event, which was hosted by Jaime Malet, President of AmChamSpain, and James Costos, the United States Ambassador to Spain and Honorary President of AmchamSpain, dealt with the economic proposals of the Socialist Party, as well as the measures to gain and retain greater foreign investment in Spain and solve the country’s extremely high unemployment rates. The event was attended by nearly one hundred of our partners, who had the chance to ask him questions at the end of the breakfast.

10 Mar 2015
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