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"Strengthening contingency plans before Brexit is a government priority", says Reyes Maroto

Monday 9 September 2019

Accompanied by the State Secretary for Trade, Xiana Méndez, and the Secretary-General for Industry, Raül Blanco, the acting minister held a working meeting with the Spanish Ambassador, Carlos Bastarreche, and senior officials from the Trade and Tourism Offices of Spain. Reyes Maroto stated that "events oblige us to strengthen the mechanisms we had approved to address a no-deal Brexit, and hence we wanted to maintain contact with the offices so that we could coordinate the agenda from here for the coming weeks in order to update information and the measures agreed both for Spanish economic agents and for British economic agents working in the Spanish market".

At the press briefing, the Acting Minister for Industry clarified that "both as regards tourism and trade, the figures are proving to be better than expected, taking into account the uncertainty surrounding a no-deal Brexit; for example, tourist spending associated with the British market is rising, and foreign trade flows are at their usual level".

She also pointed out that "the government is realistic, within its habitual prudence. It is a priority to be ready because this will allow us to have the tools at hand to minimise the economic impact of a no-deal Brexit".

New informative workshops for Spanish companies

Reyes Maroto also held a meeting with the President of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in the United Kingdom, Eduardo Barrachina, and with members of its Executive Committee. "Today's contact allows us to garner information first-hand on how companies are coping with this situation prior to the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU. We want the effect on our business fabric to be as little as possible; at today's date, there is a larger percentage of companies prepared to tackle Brexit in better conditions than a year ago".

The acting minister announced the organisation of a new round of informative meetings in collaboration with the Spanish Chamber of Commerce and several other institutions. In recent months, the Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade (Spanish acronym: ICEX) has organised some 60 explanatory workshops throughout the country. She also stressed the importance of the "Brexit cheque" - a discount on the price of personalised services for companies - to support companies in adapting to the new market conditions. She confirmed that 482 personalised services for companies that have requested them are based on Brexit, which equates to 30% of all services carried out by the ICEX to date this year.

Loyalty of British tourist market

Together with representatives from the State Secretariat for Tourism and the Tourism Office in London, the acting minister also met up with some of the main British tourist operators to analyse market behaviour and inform them of the measures planned by the government. Reyes Maroto pointed out that the campaigns to promote Spain overseas, authorised by the Council of Ministers on Friday, includes maintaining and enhancing the loyalty of the British tourism market, particularly the premium segment, among its priority goals. "Our intention is to continue to be a priority destination for the United Kingdom, and British tourists must be aware of these contingency plans and know that Spain is ready; we want to transmit confidence, show that Spain has done its homework and offer all due guarantees so that British tourists continue to enjoy their holidays here, as they have done in recent years. In addition, we want to continue growing in the British emitting market, and hence want to add the premium and cosmopolitan segments to those inbound tourists that already visit".

The State Secretariat for Tourism has held periodic meetings with tour operators and agents from both countries, and has undertaken a wide variety of informative actions at international trade fairs (Fitur Madrid, World Travel Market London, ITB Berlin) in order to prepare the sector for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.

Complementary information

Over recent months, the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism has undertaken many actions to prepare the contingency measures included in Royal Decree-Law 5/2019, of 1 March, designed to maintain the normal development of Spain's trade flows and economic interests.

These work meetings held in London are framed within the initiatives set at the meeting of the Inter-ministerial Committee for the Monitoring of the Withdrawal Process, held on Thursday, 5 September in Madrid.

Non official translation