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The Basque Government stresses the "sophisticated, open and highly competitive" potential of Canada for Basque entrepreneurs

2013 March 19

The Basque Government, Canada and Confebask organised a session for the Basque business community to learn about the opportunities to access major infrastructure projects in Canada by means of Public Private Partnerships (PPP).

The Basque Government's Deputy Minister for Industry and Energy, Juan Ignacio García de Motiloa, outlined for Basque entrepreneurs the business opportunities that Canada offers and stressed that it is a "sophisticated, open and highly competitive" market, to break into which they need a clear strategy and be ready to invest time and resources. "The fact that it is not currently one of the markets with the greatest Basque presence does not mean that there are no interesting business opportunities," he pointed out.
Motiloa assessed Canada as a country with future potential for Basque entrepreneurs during a session organised by Confebask, the Canadian Embassy in Spain and the Department for Economic Development and Competiveness, through SPRI, to introduce the Basque business community to the opportunities to access the major infrastructure projects in Canada by means of public private partnership (PPP).

After pointing out that the PPPs are an alternative to the traditional method for constructing and funding infrastructures and public services, and offer significant advantages for the Administration and at grassroots level and where the Basque Country already has a proven track record including the clusters policy, the electric car and Bidelek sarea (Smart grids), the Basque Government explained that in the last four years Basque Country exports to Canada amounted to 321 million euros, mainly products related to smelting and electrical and mechanical capital goods, something particularly noteworthy in the latter case as Canada is not a great importer of capital goods, given the high level of local production.

The "Public Private Partnerships (PPP): Basque-Canada partnership opportunities" seminar held today in Bilbao was attended by a hundred or so Basque and Canadian companies and institutional representatives, the trade attaché of the Canadian Embassy, Deric Dubien, and the Confebask General Secretary, Nuria López de Guereñu, along with Juan Ignacio García de Motiloa.

Public Private Partnerships (PPP)

Effectively, this meeting sought to introduce the Basque business community to the opportunities to access major infrastructure projects in Canada by means of public private funding partnerships known as PPP (Public Private Partnerships), entities that enable all countries to take part in calls to tender in Canada. The PPP model is considered to be an attractive alternative for the public sector, as it is the private sector that funds part of the projects.

The trade attaché from the Canadian Embassy and the representative of the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships described from their different work spheres the general panorama of the Public Private Partnership sector in Canada; i.e., the existing opportunities, the sectors that use PPP to develop projects and may be of interest for the Basque companies and the different opportunities by provinces.

Canada

Canada offers an interesting market, slightly larger than the Spanish market, but within a free trade area of 467 million people. It is a highly competitive market but with interesting opportunities in different sectors, mainly, relating to infrastructures. Internally, Canada has a free trade agreement in place between the provinces and the Federal Government which means that a foreign companies can submit bids to nearly all the public calls to tender, provided that it has a business representative in Canada.

The instruments showcased at today's event, the PPPs, operated in this framework open to Basque companies participating in major projects. It is an alternative to the traditional method to build and fund public infrastructures and services, offering significant advantages for the Administration including transferring part of the project risk to the private partners.

Thus, governments address the cost of the project in the long term, during its life and not while it is being constructed. The Canada PPP Coordination Federal Office has a fund of 895 million euros.

The opportunities that the PPP offer Basque companies are mainly in the crude and natural gas sectors and their infrastructures (pipes, valves, etc.), mining, wind power, photovoltaic power, sustainable energy project, car, aeronautics, biotechnology and ICTs sector. Construction and infrastructures offer great opportunities as a public investment project is already active cover to 2014.

The session ended with speeches by the General Director and the Head of Infrastructure Funding of the Royal Bank on financial aspects to be taken into consideration when structuring a PPP consortium in Canada. Apart from the legal aspects, risk management, taxes and public services were covered by two representatives from Deloitte Abogados. The experience of a Basque company, IDOM, on the Canadian market was the case study that closed this session on opportunities on a market offering great expectations to the Basque business community.

The presence of Basque companies in Canada, according to SPRI data, is one production set up and five commercial set-ups. Even though it is a budding presence, SPRI provides Basque companies with a consultant that is part of the SPRI External Network and whose mission is support and facilitate access to this market.

 

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Politicians attending the event
(X term 2012 - 2016)