Last week, the Minister for Business and Knowledge, Jordi Baiget, led an institutional and business mission to the United States with the aim of promoting business cooperation and in search of business opportunities in the food and technology industries. Organized by the Government of Catalonia’s competitiveness agency, ACCIÓ, the Catalan delegation visited Florida, California and Washington DC.
On Monday, the delegation attended the eMerge conference in Miami, which is considered to be one of the most important platforms for Latin America, North America, and Europe in the digital technology industry and brings in over 10,000 visitors from 50 different countries. During the event, Catalonia-based companies such as Medtep, openTrends and iContainers, met with other enterprises from around the world in search of business partners and opportunities as they took part in the various conferences, pitching sessions and networking activities organised by the event.
The Minister also met with representatives of the Beacon Council, the official agency for economic development in Miami that supports companies in the region and works to attract foreign investment. The organization’s directors had already met with representatives of the Government of Catalonia during this year’s Mobile World Congress which allowed the representatives to establish a formal relationship with the aim of establishing ways of co-operation that promote trade relations between Florida and Catalonia.
In San Francisco, the Catalan delegation met with representatives of the Government of California to reaffirm the commitment to closer co-operation and continue working together to expand new lines of action after last year’s Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two territories. Additionally, Minister Baiget also met with companies from the region in a public-private event organised by the Bay Area Council.
On Wednesday, the Catalan delegation attended the Worlds of Flavor conference in Napa Valley, one of the leading gastronomic events in the United States. Cadí, Moritz, Molí Parellada and Caves Torelló were among the 15 companies and wineries from Catalonia attending the event. Also in attendance were Mateu Casañas and Sergio Andreu from two of Barcelona’s well-established restaurants, Disfrutar and La Pepita, respectively.
In the context of the 2016 Year of Gastronomy and Wine Tourism, the Catalan Tourist Board made a sensorial presentation of Catalonia as a gastronomic destination. Attendees were able to try national products, listen to the Patum, or “fish” in Catalan waters through virtual reality glasses. The visit to California concluded with a presentation of traditional Catalan products, such as calçots, Montserrat tomatoes and rice from the Delta region.
The last part of the mission took place in Washington DC, where Minister Baiget met with executives of the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to seek new ways to boost trade and innovation for Catalan companies.
Trade relations between the United States and Catalonia
The United States is the 6th largest importer of Catalan products. In 2015, Catalan sales to the US grew by 21% in comparison to the previous year and brought in over 2.5 billion euros in revenue through a network of 2,709 regular exporters (companies exporting in the last four consecutive years).
The commercial relationship between Catalonia and the United States began in 1797 with the establishment of the first American consulate in Barcelona. There are currently more than 500 Catalan companies based in the US and 710 American multinationals present in Catalonia.