A delegation of the Board of Directors of the American Chamber of Commerce of Spain, AmChamSpain, was received this morning in Moncloa Palace by the Spanish President, Pedro Sánchez, accompanied by Second Vice-President and Minister of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation, Nadia Calviño. The Board of Directors was led by its Chairman, Jaime Malet, and joined by the main executives from 20 multinational companies which represent the 280 member companies.
Present in the meeting were the leading executives from American Express, Atlantic Copper, Bank of America, Banco Santander, Blackstone, Coca-Cola, Costco Wholesale, Citi, Facebook, Gilead, HP, Hotusa, IBM, Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, MSD, Pfizer, McKinsey & Co. and Walt Disney.
During the meeting, the Board of Directors discussed AmChamSpain’s priorities to support the economic recovery and strengthen the trans-Atlantic relationship. Specifically the meeting aimed:
1. To reinforce the “equity story” of the Spanish economy in international markets, projecting a new image of the country to attract direct investment and portfolio investment and to support Spanish foreign investment and the export of goods and services.
The Chamber proposes capitalizing on this moment of global disruption to redefine Spain’s image and identify it with the values of excellence, a sustainable economy, technological progress and respect for the environment. AmChamSpain aims to promote the culture of inclusive, ethical and responsible capitalism in Spain, as the Business Roundtable requested in 2019, using the United Nations Principles of Responsible Investment (PRI) and Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) criteria as guidelines, which a large part of major international investors already use in their decisions.
AmChamSpain has made itself fully available to the Government to raise awareness of that effort in global forums, stressing that Spain still remains attractive for international investors at a time of great liquidity.
2. To promote structural reforms to improve competitiveness after the pandemic.
The Chamber has requested the Government to carry out an in-depth review of the legal system to undertake structural reforms that can increase the country’s competitiveness after the pandemic. AmChamSpain indicated the need for a flexible labor framework that favors the creation of mass, high-quality employment; a stable tax structure attractive for investment; a high-quality, merit-based and competitive educational system that attracts talent; an efficient administration with ex ante and ex post control of each euro spent; greater protection for industrial and intellectual property; and increased fiscal support in private R&D investment.
In particular, the members of the Board of Directors highlighted the urgency to pass legislation to reinforce the concept of re-skilling, which allows for the workforce to be quickly re-educated and adapt to the new economic context, including greater flexibility for functional mobility.
3. To enhance Digitalization and the Energy Transition.
The Chamber also discussed the importance of digitalizing and internationalizing SMEs, using the capacities of large Spanish and international companies as forces to drive the entire productive sector forward. The digitalization strategy (connectivity, security, and training) must go hand-in-hand with the energy transition under the Green & Blue concept. The Chamber stressed the importance of strengthening entrepreneurship in both the digital sector as well as in energy transition. The Chamber’s members reiterated to the President their desire to collaborate to make rapid progress in executing the digitalization plans for the economy.
4. To promote public-private collaboration to bring in European funds in due time.
The Chamber informed the President of the need to clearly state the tools needed to strengthen a relationship of trust between the public and private sectors that allows the country to bring in the NextGenerationEU funds in due time. In particular, the members of the Board advocate for revitalizing the country’s major industrial centers by adapting them to the European Green Deal agenda and enhancing digitalization (sustainability, renewable energy, energy efficiency and the circular economy).
5. To capitalize on the wave of innovation in the healthcare sector.
AmChamSpain highlighted its members’ commitment to the healthcare sector in the fight against the pandemic and the value of public-private collaboration. In particular, the Chamber emphasized promoting access to healthcare innovation within the national health system.
6. To promote diversity and inclusive leadership in Spanish companies.
The Chamber informed the President about the need to reinforce mechanisms to promote meritocracy that encourage diversity of talent and gender inclusiveness in managerial and executive administrative positions without resorting to quotas.
7. To strengthen the trans-Atlantic bond with the new Biden Administration.
The Chamber believes that this is a unique moment to strengthen the relationship between the EU and the US, and that Spain – which shares other geostrategic interests with the United States, such as Latin America and the southern Mediterranean basin – has a great deal to contribute to this relationship.
The members also indicated that the American economy will come out of the pandemic stronger with enormous federal infrastructure plans (transportation, energy and telecommunications) which can be of great interest for many of the Chamber’s Spanish members. In this sense, AmChamSpain has made itself available to the Government to support the bond between Spain and the United States and also to promote a climate of collaboration between the European Union and the US that allows them to progress toward shared regulatory standards that facilitate the use of technologies such as 5G, cloud computing and artificial intelligence, as well as the fight against climate change, contributing to a sustainable and inclusive economic recovery.
During the meeting, the Chairman of AmChamSpain, Jaime Malet, also requested “reforms to strengthen institutions, lengthen legislative terms and increase legal security, which will be warmly welcomed by the members of the Chamber”.
“Spain has the opportunity to become a cluster to attract talent and investment in the digital economy and in the green economy, and our institution wants to support the Administration in these efforts. We also believe in the importance of decisively supporting the tourism and export sectors as they have been crucial in successfully overcoming previous crises” indicated the Chairman of the Chamber, Jaime Malet, during the meeting.
The delegation of AmChamSpain in the meeting included:
Jaime Malet, Chairman, AmChamSpain
Joaquín Arenas, President, Bank of America (VP AmChamSpain)
Alejandro Beltrán, Managing Partner, McKinsey & Co. (VP AmChamSpain)
Helena Herrero, President, HP (VP AmChamSpain)
Simón Amselem, Country Manager, Walt Disney
Ana Argelich, President and Executive Director, MSD
Claudio Boada, Senior Advisor, Blackstone
Irene Cano, Managing Director, Facebook
Aida Casamitjana, Executive Director, AmChamSpain
Juan Ignacio Elizalde, General Director, Coca-Cola
Andrés Esteban, President, Morgan Stanley
Ignacio Gutiérrez Orrantia, President for Continental Europe, Citi Banking
Luis Isasi, Non-executive Director, Santander
Pilar López, President, Microsoft
Amancio López, President, Hotusa
Horacio Morell, President, IBM
Juan Orti, President, American Express
María Río, President, Gilead
Sergio Rodríguez, Country Manager, Pfizer
Javier Targhetta, President, Atlantic Copper
Diane Tucci, Country Manager, Costco Wholesale