The Catalan Government attracted a foreign investment project every 5 days in 2017

19 Jun 2018

The Catalan Government attracted 70 foreign investment projects in 2017, the highest figure in history, with total investments coming to 241 million euros, the creation of 3,217 jobs and the maintenance of 1,382 jobs. In other words, the Government attracted a foreign investment project every 5 days in 2017. These figures were announced this Monday by the Minister of Business and Knowledge, Àngels Chacón, in reference to the projects that received the support, assistance and advice of Catalonia Trade & Investment, the agency for business competitiveness that depends on the Department of Business and Knowledge.

Chacón also added that according to data so far from the first half of 2018, the foreign investment projects managed by the Catalan Government represent an investment of 175 million euros, 70% of the total figure of 2017. "These indicators point to where the trend will go this year" she said.

The Minister for Business and Knowledge explained that the Catalan Government focuses on the attraction of “industrial investments, which entail job creation and help us position the Catalan economy". When assessing why foreign companies invest in Catalonia, Chacón underlined that it is due to "a set of assets: a solid and diverse economy, local and international talent, the startup ecosystem, centres and infrastructures linked to research and scientific innovation, connectivity, the geostrategic situation, logistics capabilities and world-wide events such as the Mobile World Congress." The Minister for Business and Knowledge wanted to highlight the role of the National Agreement for Industry, "a stable benchmark that will guide the development strategy regardless of the government in Catalonia."

Investment profile

Most of the projects managed by the Catalan Government in 2017 were greenfield, i.e. from companies with no previous presence in Catalonia (40% of the total). Projects like these offer growth opportunities and demonstrate Catalonia’s potential to continue attracting new investors; not only by consolidating investments of companies already established in Catalonia, but by also capturing new ones.

As regards the investments managed by the Catalan Government, 2017 saw major investments from the United States (24.3% of the total), Japan (11.4%), France (10%), United Kingdom (8.6%), Switzerland (8.6%) and Germany (7.1%). In terms of sectors, with the exception of ICT, no one sector concentrated more than 15% of total investment made in Catalonia, which reflects the diversity of business opportunities that Catalonia presents, either in traditional sectors or in more future-looking areas. Last year, the sectors showing the most foreign investment projects were ICT (with 28.6% of the total) followed by the automotive industry (11.4%), air transport (10%), business services (7.1%), pharma-biotechnology (5.7%), electronics (5.7%) and e-commerce (4.3%).

One of the two main channels of attraction for the 70 foreign investment projects in 2017 was Catalonia Trade & Investment’s network of 40 Foreign Trade & Investment Offices around the world, with 21.4% of the total, a figure that demonstrates the importance of this network for the Catalan economy, beyond export promotion and internationalizing Catalan innovation. Also, with 21.4%, the other noteworthy channel was represented by those projects from companies that had already worked with Catalonia Trade & Investment beforehand and who had again requested assessment from the agency.

For the Catalan Government the attraction of foreign investment is a priority for the creation of wealth, added value and jobs. The aim of Catalonia Trade & Investment is to make new multinational companies invest in Catalonia while assisting those that are already present to carry out extension projects and reinvestments. Its work involves promoting Catalonia abroad, the joint preparation of candidatures for companies to undertake investments in Catalonia, giving comprehensive advice throughout the investment process and monitoring once it has been materialized

In this sense, for each euro of public money budgeted, the Catalan Government attracted 95.3 euros of foreign investment, while for each person employed in Catalonia Trade & Investment, another 110 jobs were created associated to foreign investment projects.

8,642 foreign companies in Catalonia

Minister Chacón also announced on Monday that there were 8,642 foreign companies established in Catalonia, according to the latest update of Catalonia Trade & Investment’s Directory of Foreign Companies. This is a 22% growth in companies over 2016, when the Directory was previously updated. These companies come from Germany (13%), France (12%), United States (12%), Italy (9%), Netherlands (8%) and United Kingdom (8%). In terms of turnover volume, the most significant sectors are the automotive sector (13.4%) and food (12.9%), while the main activities of the value chain are manufacturing (35.4%) and commercial activities (31.8%).


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