"Opening up new markets" for Basque companies and “attracting investment to the Basque Country”, the objectives of the business mission led by the Lehendakari in Shanghai
The Lehendakari has held a meeting with the Basque journalists covering his visit to China
The Basque Government hopes to "take full advantage" of the institutional and business mission that tomorrow will inaugurate Basque Week in the 2010 Expo in Shanghai with two objectives in mind: raising awareness of the reality of the Basque Country and "opening up new markets" for Basque companies and ensuring that the Basque Country "finds a space" within the Chinese tourism sector. The Lehendakari, Patxi López, expressed it in this manner during an informal meeting with the Basque journalists providing coverage of his visit to Shanghai. Having recently arrived in the city hosting the 2010 International Exposition, the Lehendakari has detailed the agenda, program and objective of the institutional and business mission that has bearing on one of the core commitments of the Basque Executive: internationalisation. "This visit demonstrates that the commitment of the Basque Government is to be taken seriously and illustrates the dynamism of our economic and business fabric," he added.
Tomorrow, the first official visit of Lehendakari to China will commence. Shanghai is set to become the nerve centre of the activities that will be set in motion over the course of the week by the institutional and business mission led by the Basque Government, accompanied by more than 70 Basque companies with a range of interests in the Asian giant. Tomorrow, the Lehendakari, Patxi López, will inaugurate Basque Week within the International Exposition in Shanghai, an opportunity to increase awareness of the Basque reality and "open up new markets" for Basque companies, attract Chinese investment to the Basque Country and ensure that the Basque Country "finds a space" within the Chinese tourism sector. This visit reaffirms the Basque Executive's commitment to internationalisation and collaboration with companies, chambers of commerce and economic sectors within the Basque Country.
The institutional mission led by the Lehendakari arrived in Shanghai this morning, consisting of members of the Ministry for Industry, Innovation, Trade and Tourism, including Basque Minister Bernabé Unda and the Vice-Minister for Tourism, Pilar Zorrilla, and members of the General Secretariat for Overseas Actions, led by Guillermo Echenique. They are accompanied by more that 100 representatives from 70 Basque companies with interests in the Chinese market.
The Lehendakari, who held a meeting with the journalists accompanying him on his visit to Shanghai, drew attention to the threefold field of operation of the mission, wherein the Expo will be employed to "showcase the appeal" of the Basque Country, institutional representatives will attempt to forge "alliances" and actions will be undertaken "to discover business opportunities". The tourism sector has not been forgotten as the Basque country hopes to "find a space", given that, according to the Lehendakari, the Basque offer addresses the needs of the emerging class of Chinese tourists, offering culture, tradition, history, gastronomy and modernity.
An Intense Agenda
The official visit will commence on Monday the 27th with the inauguration of Basque Week in the 2010 Expo in Shanghai, focusing on fashion and Basque cuisine in an act that combines these two sectors with the greatest international presence. Five prestigious chefs and five renowned Basque designers will form a creative union to promote the image of the Basque Country as a location that fosters an "avant-garde perspective, modernity and creativity." Juan Mari Arzak, Martín Berasategui, Pedro Subijana, Andoni Luis Aduriz and Eneko Atxa Azurmendi will prepare their best dishes attired in the designs provided by Alicia Rueda, Ion Fiz, Jota+Ge (Juana Ruíz and Garbiñe Urdampilleta), Mercedes de Miguel and Ian Mosh. This fusion of fashion and gastronomy will take place in Shanghai during the Gastronomy Sessions in the Gran Hotel.
The Lehendakari is also scheduled to participate in the business conference entitled, "Understanding China: A Local Experience".
On Tuesday, the Basque delegation travels to the MCC industrial park in Kunshan, where the Lehendakari will visit four Basque cooperative plants located in this vigorous region. After signing the collaboration agreement with the region of Kunshan, the Lehendakari will preside over an official reception on the occasion of Basque Week at the Expo in Shanghai.
The third day commences with a speech by the Lehendakari in the prestigious CEIBS business school, accompanied by Professor Wang Jianmao. The Lehendakari will then travel to Jiangsu to meet with the Governor. The objective of this meeting is "to initiate dialogue with this province, one of the most prosperous in China, with the aim of promoting knowledge and exchange in economic and business sectors."
During this intense visit, the Lehendakari will then return to the Expo in Shanghai on Thursday to visit the Bilbao stand and meet with the city's mayor, Iñaki Azkuna. That afternoon, the Lehendakari and the entire Basque delegation will meet with members of the Basque association, euskal extra, in Shanghai.
"It is intolerable"
In addition to discussing the institutional and business mission to Shanghai, the Lehendakari evaluated ETA's latest public appearance, stating that it offers "nothing new." "They talk about a series of conditions that are not open for negotiation with a terrorist group," the Lehendakari stressed, calling on the signatories of the Guernica Statement to demand the disappearance of the group rather than merely a cease fire. "The unilateral step that ETA must take involves its disappearance," he underlined.
Mr López called for a cessation of actions that "encourage pathways that can only lead to frustration", criticising those "who wish to permanently place the ball on the Legal State's side of the court, when the ball is exclusively on ETA's side of the court." "It is intolerable," he noted.
In response to the statements of Iñigo Urkullu in relation to the steps to be taken following the definitive cessation of violence, the Lehendakari rejected any attempts to play at "fantasy politics", affirming his commitment to remain "united in telling ETA that it must disappear and this is of extraordinary importance as whatever strengthens democrats, weakens the terrorists." "This is something that we must maintain," he added.