The President of the Government of Catalonia, Artur Mas, made an official visit to the United States of America this June to support the internalization of Catalan businesses. Mr. Mas inaugurated Catalan multinational Grifols S.A.’s newest facilities at their Clayton, North Carolina operations and met with Governor Pat McCrory and State Senate President Phil Berger. On the West Coast, the Minister of Knowledge and Economy, Andreu Mas-Colell, signed new collaborative agreements with education and research institutions, and met with state-level politicians.
The Government of Catalonia’s official visit to the United States also coincided with a trade mission of several dozen tech firms from Catalonia to tech hubs in California and Washington State. The mission, organized by ACCIÓ, the Catalonia Trade & Investment Agency, was led by the Minister of Enterprise and Employment, Felip Puig.
Minister Puig met with the Deputy Mayor of San Francisco, Mark Chandler, as well as with Kish Rajan, the Director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, to discuss a direct Barcelona-San Francisco flight and other items of interest. Minister Mas-Colell joined Minister Puig several hours later to participate in a “Technology, Civic Innovation and Governance” panel at the Old Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, now known as the Bently Reserve. The event was followed by a separate presentation by the Catalan Tourist Board in North America, which was attended by ninety U.S. tour operators interested in increasing their offerings in Catalonia and becoming better connected with the area.
Minister Mas-Colell, a former professor of Economics at Harvard University and the University of California, Berkeley, represented the Government of Catalonia in signing new collaborative agreements with universities in the San Francisco and Silicon Valley region. In the State Capital of Sacramento, Minister Mas-Colell also spoke to the State Senate and met with its President, Darrell Steinberg, and the President of the State Assembly, Toni Atkins, to discuss the main focus points of his visit: business development, higher education and research, and agricultural and water policy. After his address, Minister Mas-Colell visited the State Assembly, where he was introduced by Mr. Atkins.
Outside of the State Capital of Sacramento, Minister Felip Puig and the Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, Food and the Environment, Josep Maria Pelegrí, oversaw the signature of an agreement between UC Davis and Catalonia’s Institute of Agro-food Research and Technology (IRTA). IRTA is a research institute owned by the Government of Catalonia founded in 1985 to support the Catalan food industry by spurring innovation and technology transfer. In California’s renowned wine-producing region of Napa Valley, IRTA specialists also presented the results of a pioneering joint IRTA/Codorniu viticulture research project at the Codorníu-owned Artesa Vineyards & Winery.
Travelling southward to the Greater Los Angeles Area, Minister Mas-Colell signed two Memoranda of Understanding with the Henry Samueli School of Engineering at UC Irvine to increase academic collaboration with universities in Catalonia, particularly the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (‘BarcelonaTech’). Catalonia already has a decades-long relationship with UC Irvine through the Balsells Fellowship, named after its founder Pete Balsells, who emigrated from Catalonia to the United States in 1947.
The CONNECT CATALONIA event, co-organized by the Catalonia Trade & Investment Agency and the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, brought together business leaders from both Catalonia and the greater Los Angeles Area to discuss trade and investment opportunities. The event featured a showcase of the newest infrastructure projects in Barcelona which are relevant for stakeholders in California, and provided an opportunity for attending businesses to connect with the Catalan tech firms participating in the trade mission.
Minister Mas-Colell also participated in an evening event organized to promote the Catalan audiovisual sector, HOLLYWOOD/BARCELONA, an open gate to creativity and industry, organized by the Catalan Institute for the Cultural Companies (ICEC). The event featured several presentations and a conversation between ICEC Audiovisual Area Director Marc López, Minister Mas-Colell, director/producer Brian Yuzna, and Catalan Film Academy (ACC) President Isona Passola.
During the trip, the Ministers were accompanied by other government officials including the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and the European Union, Roger Albinyana, and the Delegate to the United States, Andrew Davis.