Catalonia and Barcelona have Europe’s best foreign investment attraction strategy, according to the Financial Times Group

Catalan Economy · Business Investments

17 Feb 2023

This is one of the most prestigious international rankings used by multinationals when considering future business investment projects.

Within Europe, Catalonia and Barcelona are both the region and the city with the best foreign investment attraction strategy according to fDI Magazine, part of the Financial Times group. It is one of the most prestigious international rankings used by multinationals to study future business investment projects and acknowledges several initiatives carried out by the Catalan Government. Therefore, Catalonia and its capital once again lead this ranking, as in the 2022 edition.

Specifically, in the case of Catalonia, the publication assesses ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investment’s strategy for attracting foreign investment and the agency’s 2022 balance sheet in this field. The agency attracted 94 foreign investment projects, representing an investment of 620 million euros and the creation of over 3,400 jobs.

FDi Magazine recognizes ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investment’s strategy focused on attracting new business projects to Catalonia in the field of digital transformation and green economy, and highlights, in particular, the ProACCIO Green program, which offers aid and support to sustainability-related business projects.

As an example of the strategy’s success, the publication highlights the project of the South Korean company Iljin Materials, which will invest 600 million euros to open in Catalonia its first factory in Europe, where it will create 500 jobs. fDI Magazine also mentions the presence in Catalonia of 12 universities that are "creating a pool of talent that will accelerate the transformation of the region from an industrial center to a leader in Industry 4.0".

The award, which falls into the category of Large European Regions of the Future - FDI Strategy, places Catalonia in the first place together with Île-de-France (France) and ahead of regions such as Scotland (UK), Flanders (Belgium) and Lombardy (Italy).

For the Minister of Business and Labour, Roger Torrent, this recognition shows that "Catalonia is an attractive region for foreign investment and a magnet for high added value projects that have an impact beyond the generation of wealth and jobs because they become tractors for the entire Catalan economy".

According to Torrent, the award "highlights the work done by Catalonia Trade & Investment to attract and retain investment in our country: since we know that a foreign company intends to invest on an international scale, we try to place Catalonia in the list of countries they consider, and when they have already decided, we accompany them throughout the process of establishing a subsidiary here".

The head of Business and Labour also stressed that "a large part of the foreign companies in Catalonia decide to reinvest again here; therefore, they have confidence in the country and our Government".

“A large part of foreign companies in Catalonia decide to reinvest again here; therefore, they have confidence in the country and our Government”

Roger Torrent, Minister of Business and Labour

Foreign investment strategy, a priority for the Government of Catalonia

Foreign investment is a priority for the Catalan Government and a key element in boosting the country’s economic activity and creating direct and indirect jobs. Thus, ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investment provides comprehensive advice to foreign companies to facilitate their implementation process in Catalonia. The agency works towards attracting new multinationals to Catalonia,  as well as helping those already present to carry out expansion and reinvestment plans.

ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investment's work ranges from the promotion of Catalonia abroad to the joint preparation of company applications to perform investments in Catalonia, comprehensive advisory services throughout the investment process, and subsequent monitoring of this once it has been put into practice.

The Catalan Government’s foreign investment attraction strategy materializes in three major areas that are aligned with Catalonia’s National Pact for the Industry and its objectives: industry, technology, and sustainability. In this sense, priority is given to projects in those transforming sectors on a global scale. These projects present opportunities for the Catalan economy as a whole, as is the case in the field of ICT and technology, mobility of the future, semiconductors, new food, or videogames and audiovisual.

As regards countries, the investment strategy carried out through Catalonia Trade & Investment focuses on those with greater investment capacity, industrial and technological. These are mainly the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. Also, Asian countries such as Japan, China, South Korea, and India, with a special focus on the industries of the future (such as semiconductors, mobility, or video games).

Regarding the type of projects, priority is given to those that maximize their impact or return to Catalonia, either from the establishment of the company’s headquarters, since the existence of decision centers facilitates future reinvestments, or innovation centers, as they will specialize in the promotion of R&D. Not to mention industrial projects, especially those linked to industry 4.0, which is transversal to other economic sectors.


In the case of the Catalan capital, the publication ranks Barcelona first in the category fDI’s European Cities and Regions of the Future 2023 - FDI Strategy. The document highlights, among other things, Barcelona's strategy to attract projects in the field of technology and sustainability. Furthermore, the award highlights as well as "the city's successful technological ecosystem, which received a boost last year with Intel's decision to associate with the Barcelona Supercomputing Center to establish a microchip design laboratory".

The Catalan capital is ahead of other European cities such as Dublin (Ireland), Berlin (Germany), Munich (Germany), and Milan (Italy).

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