Fira de Barcelona in the United States

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Many North Americans might not know where the dollar sign or the famous ranches that appear in cowboy films originally came from. Believe it or not, they are Spanish.

The great historical and cultural legacy that Spain bestowed on the United States is reflected in the growing interest in American society for all things Spanish. For example, the demand for gastronomic delicacies from Spain, such as wine, Iberian ham or olive oil increases year after year, and popular chefs such as José Andrés have found success there by introducing the concept of tapas.

27-05-03The U.S. is actually the second largest export market for Spanish foodstuffs after the E.U., with a turnover of 962 million euros, according to the figures of the Spanish Food and Drink Industry Federation (FIAB).

Spain’s presence in the U.S. is by no means limited to the sphere of gastronomy. Spanish companies have also made inroads into other sectors such as fashion, design, tourism, construction and banking, among others.

Business opportunities

The United States is without doubt a crucial partner: its economy is the world’s largest, and its GDP represents 24% of the world’s total production. “With an annual growth rate of 3%, which is more than double that of the E.U., the American economy is dynamic, open and unhindered. Its principal characteristics are its capacity for generating business and its permanent pursuit of technological innovation”, says Philippe Bazin, who is responsible for the delegation of Fira de Barcelona in the United States, which is based in New York.

27-05-04c This is why “the North American market with 300 million consumers offers Spanish companies limitless opportunities. Besides this, there is an increasingly important hispanic market in the United States”, Bazin says. In fact, the hispanic population in the U.S. is expected to account for 25% of the total population in 2050, which would mean around 90 million people.

The sectors with greatest demand are those related with food (canned and bottled vegetables, seafood and fish, wine, etc.), consumer goods, home furnishings (porcelain, furniture,…), chemicals and pharmaceutical products, sustainable, natural, organic and gluten-free products, solar power, services, communications, banking and retailing.

Fira de Barcelona and its hometown

27-05-05 According to Philippe Bazin, Barcelona has a very good reputation among North Americans. “It is modern and welcoming, one of Europe’s most important centres for architecture and design, alongside Paris and London, and admired for its artistic side as well, closely linked to Gaudí. It’s the best-known city in Spain”.

In this context, he adds, Fira de Barcelona “plays an important role for American companies that want to do business or look for new suppliers in the European market, because the institution hosts the leading fairs in their sectors and events that are international landmarks as the Mobile World Congress”. To give one example: 10% of the companies taking part in the events held in Fira are North Americans.

Did you know…?

27-05-06

  • The United States is the fourth largest country in the world by size. It has a surface area of 9,631,415 km2, 47% of which is agricultural land and 29% forest.
  • With a population of 317 million, it has the third largest population in the world. 82% of the population live in cities, so there are large areas of the country that are unpopulated. New York, with over 8.4 million inhabitants, is the city with the largest population in the United States.
  • There are more than 700 Spanish companies established in the United States, especially in the renewable energy, infrastructure and financial services sectors. They employ nearly 70,000 people.
  • The economy of the United States, the largest in the world, is fundamentally a service economy: the tertiary sector accounts for nearly 78% of GDP.
  • U.S. investors were the ones who invested the most in Spain in 2012, injecting 2,223 million euros. Spanish investment in the United States reached 674 million euros.
  • In 2013, Spain exported 8,678 million euros worth of goods to the U.S., while imports reached 10,218 million euros.

M.G.D.
*Main photo courtesy of the New York Tourism Office.