Catalonia Trade & Investment attracts 880 million euros in foreign investment in 2023, the highest figure on record

Catalan Economy · Business Investments

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07 Mar 2024

In 2023, 112 foreign direct investment projects (a 19% increase over 2022) were attracted by the agency, creating 4,533 new jobs (a 31% rise).

Catalonia's Minister for Business and Labour, Roger Torrent, announced today at a press conference that the Catalan Government, through ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investment -the agency for business competitiveness belonging to the Ministry for Business and Labour - attracted €880 million in foreign investment in 2023. This represents a 42% increase over the previous year and is the highest figure on record since 1985. The event also featured Albert Castellanos, Secretary for Business and Competitiveness, as well as CEO of ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investment.

This is the Annual Report from Catalonia Trade & Investment (.PDF document), the unit responsible for attracting and managing foreign investments on behalf of the Government of Catalonia. In total, during 2023, 112 projects from foreign companies were formalized, a 19% increase over the previous year. For the first time, the number of projects exceeded 100. These investments represented the creation of 4,533 jobs, a 31% increase over 2022.

“These are extraordinary record figures that show how competitive Catalonia is in the business world”

Roger Torrent, Minister of Business and Labour of Catalonia

The Minister of Business and Labour has stressed that "these are extraordinary record figures that show how competitive Catalonia is in the business world, that international investors trust in our country, and that we have all the ingredients to make investments with guarantees and potential for growth". According to Torrent, "foreign investment figures help us to position ourselves internationally and accompany the transformations of the country's economic and business model".

When analyzed over longer periods to avoid the volatile nature of foreign investment, the volume of investment attracted by ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investment over the past five years (2019-2023) amounts to €2.955 billion, a 90% increase compared to the previous five-year period (2014-2018). In these last five years, foreign investments in Catalonia created close to 20,000 jobs (19,154), a 23% increase over the previous five-year period.

Diversified investment with an industrial focus

In 2023, 67% of foreign investment captured by the Catalan Government (€592 million) was industrial in nature, one of the main priorities of the Ministry for Business and Labour as industrial economies are more innovative, internationalized, productive, and generate more stable and higher quality employment. In terms of sectors, projects from technology-based companies (ICT-tech) stand out (26% of total projects), life sciences (14%), automotive-mobility (12%), video games (11%), and food (10%).

Albert Castellanos, Secretary for Business and Competitiveness and CEO of ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investment has stated that "we are immersed in the process of transformation of the production model and diversification of investments, as shown by the number of greenfield projects or those that contribute to the green and digital transformation of companies." Castellanos said that "Catalonia has a very attractive mix for deciding to establish there, combining factors such as easy access to technology and innovation, the ability to attract local and international talent, geographical location, and quality of life for business activity."

As regards the origin of these investments, for the first time, they came from over 30 different countries. This demonstrates Catalonia's ability to diversify sources of new projects. The countries from which most projects originated are the United States (21% of the total), France (13%) and the United Kingdom (9%).

On the other hand, out of the 112 foreign investment projects that materialized in 2023, 42% were greenfield investments, meaning companies without a previous presence in Catalonia. The remaining 58% are companies already established in the country that have expanded or made new investments. This balance demonstrates Catalonia's potential to continue attracting new investors and, at the same time, the confidence that multinationals present in the region have in Catalonia.

Public support

Catalonia Trade & Investment provides comprehensive advice to foreign companies to facilitate the investment of new multinationals in Catalonia while also supporting those already present in carrying out expansions and reinvestments. This involves promoting Catalonia abroad, jointly preparing bids for companies to invest in Catalonia, providing complete support throughout the entire investment process, and monitoring once the investments have been realized.

For every public euro allocated to this area in 2023, €245 of private investment from international companies has been attracted. In total, 42% of the projects that have materialized in Catalonia were attracted through the agency’s international network of 40 Trade and Investment Offices around the world.

Regarding future prospects, currently, ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investment is working with almost 600 investment projects. In fact, nearly 50% of the companies that invested in Catalonia in 2023 with the support of the Catalan government have plans to reinvest here in the future.

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Carmen Gonzalez

Carmen Gonzalez

Senior International Promotion Consultant


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