04.05.2017 - 22:10
The ports of Barcelona and Miami have signed a deal to increase the quantity of cruises and cargo traffic. The agreement looks to exchange information in order to improve the areas of mobility, security, maritime management, and environment. Thanks to this collaboration, Miami, the most important port when it comes to cruises, and Barcelona, Europe’s leading cruise port, will strengthen their ties. The agreement was signed during the trip of Catalonia’s vice-president and minister of economy, Oriol Junqueras, to the United States, which began on Monday. According to the Catalan delegation, the Spanish consul in Miami tried to interfere with the agenda and the planned official events at the signing of the agreement. Cándido Creis wanted to force the text to include a reference to the “Spanish Kingdom”. However, this reference did not exist in any prior agreements between the two ports, and it was not included in this new one either.
It was the Spanish consul himself who contacted the port of Miami to access the document, which the two CEOs of the Ports, Sixte Cambra, from Barcelona, and Juan Kuryla, from Miami, signed on Tuesday. The interference of the Spanish consul in Miami, Cándido Creis, came as a surprise to those responsible for the Port of Miami, who rejected the change. “Everyone does what they believe is the right thing to do,” said the Catalan vice-president, Junqueras, who did not want to comment on the Spanish consul’s actions. Junqueras emphasized that the Catalan delegation follows its agenda by contacting entrepreneurs, politicians, and investors indifferent to the Spanish diplomats’ actions. “We have gotten past the impediments. We have met,” he added.
Strengthening the collaboration between Barcelona and Miami
The two ports have agreed to work together in order to increase the quantity of both cruises and cargo traffic, since both ports combine these two activities. The port of Miami is interested in reinforcing the traffic of cargo vessels with Europe, and in order to do so, they have dredged the port to open up for more vessels between Miami and other ports, including ports in Catalonia.
The agreement reinforces the ties between Miami, the number one cruise port in the world, which has almost five million passengers a year, and Barcelona, the most important cruise port in Europe with 2.6 million passengers. The two ports have agreed to share knowledge in order to increase cruise traffic.
Junqueras’ meeting with Miami’s mayor
On Monday, the Catalan vice-president, Oriol Junqueras, also met with Miami’s mayor, Tomás Regalado. During the meeting they defined some of the matters Catalonia and Florida could work on together. Miami’s mayor explained that one of Florida’s future challenges is related to the rising sea level and with purifying water. “Catalonia has a lot of experience in this field and they can help us,” the mayor said.
Junqueras congratulated the healthy state of the Catalan companies in the area and confirmed that the meeting with Miami’s mayor was “beneficial” and that they both hope to consolidate this new partnership in mid-May when Regalado returns the visit to Barcelona and Tarragona.
Catalonia in the financial markets
One of the aims of this trip is to lay the groundwork for finding financing on the international markets outside the margins of the FLA. According to the Generalitat’s Secretary of Economy, Pere Aragonès, in an interview with Bloomberg, the Generalitat “is preparing” for issuing debt to foreign markets for the first time since 2012. Therefore, this visit to the United States may be useful for meeting investors and laying the groundwork for Catalonia to be able to issue debt on the international markets.
Junqueras stated that Catalonia will return to the financial markets either because “the FLA is no longer necessary or because Catalonia is a republic”. He presented figures to this effect (a higher increase of the GDP than of the deficit) to ensure that, at an economic level, it is “inexplicable” that Catalonia does not have direct access to the markets.
Catalonia and smart cities
The Catalan vice-president’s trip to the United States coincided with the participation of ten Catalan companies in a trade mission to New York with the aim of finding public tenders, partners, and new clients. This trip is organized by ACCIÓ, Catalonia Trade & Investment, and comes at the same time as the first edition of the Smart Cities New York fair, which allowed the Catalan companies to meet with American companies from the sector and some of New York’s public institutions.
The Catalan companies have until Friday to present their projects. In addition, during this mission they will visit the incubator Hub @ GCT, specialized in smart cities which is the result of a collaboration between companies like GE and Microsoft. The vice-president will visit Catalan companies during his stay in the United States this week.
According to a study from ACCIÓ, the smart cities sector generates 3% of Catalonia’s GDP. In Catalonia there are 270 companies from this sector and they employ 116,163 people. Out of the entire business volume, 6.969 billion euros come from their smart cities related activity.