Catalonia’s minister for Business and Knowledge, Jordi Baiget, announced this Thursday morning during a breakfast at IESE business school that the Catalan government won up to 352 million euros in foreign investment projects in 2016. In total, they attracted 68 projects, the highest number since records began, through the public agency Acció – Catalonia Trade & Investment. These operations involved the creation of 2,870 jobs and kept 1,197 others.
Compared with the previous year, the number of projects increased by 17.2% and the total investment grew 10.1%. As for job creation, it spiked up 48.5% with respect to 2015, while job preservation remained stable with a 0.4% increase.
In fact, half of the projects won by Acció managed to attract multinationals that had no previous presence in Catalonia. According to Baiget, this shows that the region is not only keeping its current business investments, but is also attracting new gambles. As for the countries of origin of these companies, the majority are from the US or France, with 14.7% of the total each. They are followed by Germany (13.2%), Japan (11.8%), the UK (5.9%) and Belgium (5.9%).
Baiget emphasised that this type of project also creates opportunities for the local economy and contributes to bringing innovation to Catalonia. “It’s a reliable indicator of how attractive a country is, we have to make them feel at home,” the minister explained. He said that these investments aren’t the results of coincidence or chance; rather, they are a reflection of the assets that Catalonia can offer to multinationals worldwide.
More industrial investments
Industry is the most appealing sector for the multinationals that wish to come to Catalonia. 27.9% of the projects were targeted at the manufacturing sector, while projects within the area of logistics have grown from 3.4% to 7.4%. The creation of headquarters represents 10.3% of the foreign investment projects whilst R&D centres make up 7.4% of the total.
The minister stressed that Catalonia has attracted these investments despite its lack of power with regards to infrastructure or to negotiating a fiscal model that would be more attractive to foreign businesses. “The lack of a Mediterranean corridor has effects when trying to win certain investments” he said. However, Baiget insisted that the strategic location of Catalonia makes it “the gateway to southern Europe” for companies around the world.