Vigo hosted the fifth coordination meeting of the State Delegates
Faced with tariff rearms, the Spanish Free Zones are studying new operational advantages to strengthen international trade.
Santander, October 21, 2019.- Chaired by the Undersecretary of Finance, María del Pilar Paneque, the fifth working meeting of the coordination group of the delegates of the Spanish free zones was held on October 18 in Vigo. The Delegate of the Vigo Free Trade Zone welcomed all the heads of these institutions, which once again position themselves as spaces that facilitate international trade.
In this meeting in which they have participated in person, in addition to the Undersecretariat of Finance, those responsible for the free zones of Vigo, Cádiz, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Santander and Seville, have also participated via videoconference, the delegate and the lawyer of the State of the Free Trade Zone of Barcelona.
As it was explained in the joint press conference given by the Vigo delegate and the Undersecretary of Finance, the work on the 18th has made substantial progress in the participation of free zones in the European Ports 4.0 project through a digitalization and software project with the purpose of maximizing the efficiency and uniformity of the procedures in the free zones of Spain, which will result in the benefit of a greater efficiency of port traffic. Also, through the Undersecretary, the seven free zones have committed to developing policies in line with the Sustainable Development Goals and have analyzed the new computer tool that will connect the free zones with Customs services, an application which will make it possible in June of next year for the free zones to be open to the merchandise clearance needs of the companies that operate through their premises 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Analyzing the tariff rearms that are taking place worldwide, either because the new United States taxes on the entry into its territory of primary sector products come into force today, or because of the consequences of Brexit on the 31st, It was stated that “the free zones are presented as a competitive advantage for their territories and in this regard we are studying the implementation of joint actions to facilitate export refund measures for products such as oil and wine that today have become 25% more expensive in its trade with the United States”.
Mr. Cámara, was asked what would be the role of the free zones in the trade war, and he “stressed that for the first time, Spanish nationals have not improvised in the face of this type of problem. We are very prepared, the work carried out from the free zones has been very important, in advance. Whether or not Brexit is soft or hard, we already have the fiscal instruments to avoid problems. As my colleagues say, where there is a problem, an opportunity arises, and in this case it is because there has been no improvisation.”
In response to the question which will be the biggest challenges in the coming years, Cámara insisted on “the need for free zones to offer quality services. In Santander, our base is on the growth of spaces, since I now understand that there is a good business opportunity, the state free zones, legislated with total legal certainty, are a strength that we have to exploit compared to other countries of the European economic community. Based on that we need to grow, because that will undoubtedly generate growth in the environment.”
In response to the question, how are businesses adapting to digitalization and industry 4.0? Camera responded: “it is very difficult for us to be absolute leaders of change and innovation. Large companies already have their innovation departments. The free zones have a slightly more socializing function, we have to facilitate this entrepreneurship and innovation to companies that do not have the capacity to do it themselves. We have to help SMEs because they are the most in need and because we must remember that in this country the vast majority of companies are that size.”
In response to the question, “what else can free zones contribute to society?” the answer was “Our objective is to generate wealth and employment. The way or the form are all valid. It may be an undertaking to search for suitable logistics spaces for having good facilities, but the clear objective is the creation of employment and wealth. The order doesn’t matter. The social work comes later.”
The group of seven free zones has also agreed to carry out joint international commercial actions at international fairs and congresses with the aim of strengthening the brand of Free Zones in Spain. For this international presence, the free zones, dependent on the Ministry of Finance, will also establish lines of collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce and ICEX.
Coordination Group of Delegates in the Spanish Free Trade Zones
María del Pilar Paneque Sosa, Undersecretary of Finance
Victoria Rodríguez Machuca, Special Delegate of the State of the Cádiz Free Zone Consortium
Moisés Romero Arias, Special Delegate of the State of the Tenerife Free Zone Consortium
Gabriel Corujo Bolaños, Special Delegate of the State of the Gran Canaria Free Zone Consortium
David Regades, Special Delegate of the State of the Vigo Free Zone Consortium
Fernando Cámara del Castillo, Special Delegate of the State of the Santander Free Zone
Alfredo Sánchez Monteserin, Special Delegate of the State of the Seville Free Zone Consortium
Via video conference: Pere Navarro i Morera, Special State Delegate of the Barcelona Free Zone Consortium