In 2016 Catalonia registered, for the sixth consecutive year, the highest exports figure on record. Specifically, Catalan companies exported a surplus of 6.5 billion euros, a year-on-year growth of 2%. This is a growth rate is therefore higher than in the Euro area (0.7%), Spain (1.7%), Germany (1.2%) and Italy (1.1%), and contrasts with a decrease in France (-0.9%), the UK (-0.2%), the United States (-3.2%), China (-6.4%) and Japan (-7 4%).
In this regard, the Secretary for Business and Competitiveness, Joan Aregio, explained that “it is the result of persistent, constant efforts by Catalan business community, one of the most internationalized in the territory”. This process has had the support and assistance of the Catalan Government, with one of every 3.2 euros of the increase in Catalan exports in 2016 coming from international projects managed by Catalonia Trade & Investment.
According to Aregio, “our economy has looked abroad for hundreds of years and today, the more competitive the world becomes, the more Catalan companies internationalise”. He went on to highlight that SMEs and Catalan companies “demonstrate, once again, that they are fully integrated into global value chains and international trade flows”.
In terms of specific industries, 2016 was a notable year for chemical exports (26.1% of total), capital goods (18.6%) and the automotive sector (15.9%). “These are productive sectors, creating industry in Catalonia, and show that we’re exporting quality, added value products”, the Secretary for Business and Competitiveness noted. Moreover, these are areas with a strong innovative aspect, he explained, underlining “the importance of pairing innovation and internationalization: one thing leads to another, creating a constant circle that powers itself and builds the competitive base of Catalan companies”.
In order to intensify the internationalization of the Catalan economy and continue expanding the base of exporting companies, the Government has announced the opening of six new Trade and Investment Offices abroad. In the first quarter of 2017, delegations will be opened in Zagreb (covering the area of the Balkans), Nairobi (Kenya) and Tehran (Iran). In a second phase, before the end of the year offices will also open in Los Angeles (United States), Havana (Cuba) and Amsterdam (Netherlands). This will strengthen the network of offices abroad from 36 to 42 offices covering 109 markets.
Similarly, Catalonia Trade & Investment will organize and support 138 business missions in 2017, forecasting the participation of over 1,000 companies from all sectors of the Catalan economy: 48 missions are in America, 33 in Europe, 30 in East Africa 27 East and in the Asia Pacific. In total, 59 countries will be visited worldwide.
Trade missions are the tool the Catalan Government, through Catalonia Trade & Investment, uses to expand the base of regular exporting companies. Markets where missions are organized between show the highest increase in regular exporting companies between 2014 and 2016 as was seen in Colombia, USA, UAE, China, Mexico, Morocco and Algeria, among others.