Interview: Spain-China deal to boost business opportunities: Spanish expert

(Xinhua) 10:21, June 24, 2024

BARCELONA, Spain, June 22 (Xinhua) -- A deal signed by Spain and China to boost bilateral trade and investment will help create business opportunities for both countries, a Spanish expert told Xinhua recently.

"Greater cooperation with China is extremely beneficial to countries like Spain, which are open to imports but traditionally also export a great deal. In fact, the rise in our GDP is not only due to tourism but also to a rise in our exports," said Josep Maria Gomes, International Business Developer at the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce.

The permanent Cooperation and Dialogue Mechanism agreement signed on June 3 was the result of the 29th Spanish-Chinese Mixed Economic and Industrial Commission held in Madrid.

Gomes underlined that China is Spain's largest trading partner outside the European Union (EU). At the same time, Spain is the EU country that exports the most pork to China, which is also importing increasing amounts of Spanish wine and olive oil.

In recent years, annual bilateral trade between China and Spain has risen to over 50 billion euros (53.5 billion U.S. dollars), according to the Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade (ICEX).

"We've only lately realized the importance of China as a growing market for our products, because until now we've seen China as a supplier, and there are sectors in China that are far more technologically developed than ours that can help us become more competitive," said Gomes.

He underlined that as well as boosting exports to China, Spain wants to encourage Chinese investment in Spain through such bilateral agreements.

"What Spain is looking for is essential investment in such strategic areas as the auto sector or renewable energy, so it wants to show Chinese companies that they are welcome to invest here," he said.

According to the Spain China Council Foundation, in 2022 China invested 95 million euros in Spain, while Spain invested 42 million euros in China.

Gomes highlighted the recent agreement signed by Chinese manufacturer Chery Automobile with Spanish company Ebro-EV Motors, to develop electric vehicles in the former Nissan plant in Barcelona.

"Spain is Europe's second-largest producer of vehicles, and has a long tradition in this industry, with a large pool of providers and talent that Chinese companies wanting to invest in the Spanish market can benefit from," he told Xinhua.

Chinese Electric Vehicle (EV) brands have the largest market share in Spain, with 10.6 percent, behind only Sweden (13.3) and ahead of France (9.6), according to the Transport &Environment (T&E) NGO.

Concerning the decarbonization of society, Gomes pointed out that "Spain and China are both leaders in the development and adoption of new technology" and in the area of renewable energy, "they are major actors that complement each other."

Another sector that is very important to both countries is "their reciprocal relationship in tourism, which both China and Spain are doing so much to promote," he added.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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