US looks to strengthen business links with Spain

16th June 2006, Comments 0 comments

16 June 2006, MADRID — The head of the US-Spain Council is to try to bolster trade links between the two countries.

16 June 2006

MADRID — The head of the US-Spain Council is to try to bolster trade links between the two countries.

Senator Mel Martinez, chairman of the U.S.-Spain Council, is aims to highlight the advantages the U.S. market can provide to Spanish exporters, investors and business executives.

He told EFE how the two countries could bolster economic, trade and cultural relations during a three-day meeting starting on Friday.

Business executives from both countries, Spanish foreign minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, US commerce secretary Carlos Gutierrez and other high-level officials are attending the meeting.

In a telephone interview, the Cuban-American senator said the meeting would provide a good opportunity to strengthen bilateral relations.

"The Spanish economy enjoys increasingly greater importance in Latin America," Martinez said.

"But the United States can offer Spanish investors a more mature market."

Regarding the repercussions of Bolivian president Evo Morales's decision to nationalize the energy industry in May, Martinez said that "there should have been a more energetic defence of the interests of investors".

The senator emphasized the growing leadership of Spanish firms in specialized businesses in the United States, such as "toll roads and the area of renewable energy," where they play "a very important role".

Spain's Cintra and a partner acquired the rights to operate a toll road in Indiana, a business that could draw more Spanish investment in the United States.

The one thing that is certain, as The New York Times pointed out last week, is that the US market is attracting Spanish companies looking to invest and "flex their acquisition muscle".

The newspaper said Spanish companies are moving beyond their traditional investment markets in Latin America and "shopping for companies in Europe and the United States, outmaneuvering many of their neighbours in Germany, France and Britain".

Spanish banking giant BBVA said this week it was buying Texas Regional Bancshares for EUR 1.66 billion and State National Bancshares, another bank in Texas, for EUR 380 million.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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