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Daniel Pruce

British Ambassador to the Philippines and to Palau

Part of UK in Spain

21st January 2016 Madrid, Spain

The Pioneering Spirit of British Business

I was very pleased to be able to welcome a group of over 20 smaller British companies to the Embassy this week.

They were each highly successful in the UK in their particular sectors and were each looking to broaden their horizons and develop their business in Spain. Here in the Embassy we have an active UK Trade and Investment Team. A big part of their job is helping British companies succeed in Spain. But supporting British business is a whole team effort here in Spain, just as it is a whole of Government effort in the UK. See the important new announcement on this approach here.

So it was important for us to spend a day with this group, helping them understand the opportunities in the Spanish market (and in an economy expected to grow by 3% this year). And also setting out how we could help them navigate their way through some of the inevitable differences between operating in the UK and operating overseas.

business dan
The UK-Spain commercial relationship is thriving. Over 700 Spanish companies operate in the UK, 400 British companies are active in Spain. Zara and Santander are commonplace on British High Streets. Just as Poundland (operating as “Dealz”) is becoming a familiar presence here in Spain. And the connections extend beyond retail into a wide range of industrial, manufacturing and service sectors. Total UK exports to Spain reached £14.58 billion in 2014 – up 7.2% on 2013. We want to maintain that upward trend which is why we are working hard to help British companies enter the Spanish market, generating growth that benefits the British economy.

What struck me about the group I met this week was their fantastic energy, ambition and commitment to succeed. They embodied the entrepreneurial spirit that has been at the heart of British economic success over the centuries. I was also amazed by the diversity of the group: drawn from across the UK; and operating in sectors from gin to curry, from waste management to ‘phone recycling, from designer lamps to architectural acoustics.

I hope that many of them do indeed decide to take the plunge and expand their operations to Spain. We will be here to help them succeed.

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