On 3 May, the Leading Brands of Spain Forum organised a business conference in Miami with the participation of Spanish and US executives, and a ceremony acknowledging the Friends of the Spain Brand and Spanish Brands. Figures who have been recognised as Friends of the Spain Brand include the Governor of Florida, Rick Scott and the Mayor of Miami, Tomás Regalado.
In order to strengthen historical ties, but primarily economic and business ties between Spain and Florida, on 3 May both events organised by the Leading Brands of Spain Forum together with ICEX, España Exportación e Inversiones were held in Miami. In the morning, a Business Forum was held with the participation of 60 executives from Spanish and American companies, who discussed mutual business opportunities between Spain and the USA with Miami as a port of entry to the US Hispanic market and Latin America. They also discussed the benefits of the new treaty to avoid double taxation signed between Spain and the USA. Spanish companies such as Santander, Freixenet, BBVA, Atento, Aguas de Barcelona, Eulen, Mapfre, LFP, Estrella Galicia, IESE Business School etc. participated in the meeting along with US executives from different sectors.
During his speech, the Secretary of State for Trade, Jaime García-Legaz, confirmed his confidence in the recovery of the Spanish economy, a recovery that “is starting to take its first steps but that will be consolidated from next year onwards.” The Secretary of State for Trade pointed out: “I am convinced that Spain will be the big surprise in Europe in the coming years, owing to the reforms that the government is implementing and the strength of our international companies, many of them world leaders in their respective sectors.” Jaime Garcia Legaz highlighted the attractiveness of Spain as an investment destination because of the benefits offered by the labour reforms approved by the Government and because asset prices in Spain make our country an investment opportunity. In addition, the Secretary of State for Trade encouraged Spanish companies to continue venturing abroad and strengthening their presence in markets such as the USA. Not surprisingly, according to the Leading Brands of Spain Forum, 25% of the major Spanish companies consider the USA as the market with the most potential for business in the next 3-5 years.
Acknowledgement of the Friends of the Spain Brand and Spanish Brands
As a continuation of the Business Forum, in the afternoon, on board the Juan Sebastian de Elcano Ship (appointed in 2009 as a Spain Brand Honorary Ambassador), the accreditation ceremony of the Friends of the Spain Brand and Spanish Brands was held. This is an initiative of the Leading Brands of Spain Forum and the Office of the High Commissioner for the Spain Brand. The event, which was attended by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, José Manuel García Margallo , and the High Commissioner for the Spain Brand, Carlos Espinosa de lo Monteros, took place on board the Juan Sebastian de Elcano Ship, named in 2009 as a Spain Brand Honorary Ambassador.
Spanish Brands were acknowledged in the USA, previously being recognised in China (2010), Russia (2011) and the UK (2011). The acknowledgement of the Friends of Spain Brand in Florida is awarded as part of the framework of the Five Hundredth Anniversary of the discovery by the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León of what he named Florida. The arrival of the Spaniard to the peninsula (the first by a European that has been documented) led to the beginning of modern US history.
Personalities who were recognised as Friends of the Spain Brand include Rick Scott, Governor of Florida, Tomás Regalado, Mayor of Miami, Ken Detzner, Secretary of State for Florida, and Eduardo Padron, Chairman of Miami Dade College. Also, during the ceremony a number of the Friends of various Spanish companies with the most presence in the Florida area will be recognised, and a film on Spain and its leading brands will be shown in order to publicise the strengths and business reality of a country that is not known well enough in the USA. Spanish companies that participated in the event with brands which are becoming increasingly more known in the USA included Freixenet, Bodegas Torres, Lladró, Grupo Eulen, IESE Business School, Cinco Jotas, Aqualogy (Aguas de Barcelona), Estrella Galicia, Uría Menéndez, la Liga de Fútbol Profesional, Arista and Atento.
During his speech, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, José Manuel García-Margallo highlighted the good historical relationship between Spain and the USA, noting that today much of this relationship lies in the trade sector with economic exchanges and business between the two countries. Companies, as the spearhead of the Spanish economy.
After the ceremony, on the deck of the Juan Sebastian de Elcano Ship a cocktail party was held with Spanish brand products providing a magnificent finale to the day. The 200 guests from the Miami area left with a very positive impression of Spain and its leading brands.
Florida, port of entry for Spanish companies
Some 35% of Spanish companies present in the USA are in Florida where they have invested a total of 6,500 million dollars and have created 18,000 jobs, according to State authorities. Spanish companies are present in the state of Florida in a variety of sectors including banking, services, aerospace, tourism, technology and infrastructure.
More than 350 Spanish companies operate in Florida, of which 180 companies are located in the Miami area, a figure that in recent years has increased around 20%.
The investment position of Spain in the USA amounted to 44,750 million dollars in 2011, representing 1.75% of the total and places Spain as the tenth investor in the country. The USA is Spain’s main trade partner outside the EU. This market represents the sixth destination for the Spanish export of goods, 4% of the total heading to the USA, and it is the fifth largest supplier for Spain, since more than 4% of Spanish imports come from the USA.
Miami has a population of some 5.5 million inhabitants, of which a large majority are Hispanic. In recent times, it has become the gateway to the USA for Spain owing to its cultural and economic ties with Latin America and the Caribbean. It is one of the most important financial centres in the country and the headquarters of many multinationals operating in Latin America are located in the outskirts.