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The Basque institutions confirm the “significant recovery” of exports in July (+41%) and August (+27%)

2011 December 1

Today, Bernabé Unda chaired the Basque Council for Internationalisation, created a year ago and composed of fifteen bodies including the chambers, the Government, the provincial councils, social agents and the ICEX.

The Basque minister defined internationalisation as "a condition for the survival" of companies. In the first quarter of the year, Basque exports rose by 19.8%.

Up to August, Basque exports to the U.S. have risen by 49.4% in comparison with the same period last year, amounting to a total of 908 million euros.

The exports of Basque companies have witnessed "significant recovery", verified today in the Basque Council for Internationalisation, which was chaired by Bernabé Unda, the Basque Minister for Industry, Innovation, Trade and Tourism.

During the meeting, which included the participation of several representatives of the Basque Government, the provincial councils, chambers of commerce, the ICEX and social agents, the most recent figures for exports, registered in the third quarter, were expounded. The figures verified increases of 41.6% in the month of July and 27.1% in the month of August. These figures represent a continuity of the growth witnessed in the first quarter of the year, where an increase of 19.8% was registered.

The Basque Minister for Industry analysed the global economic context and also the opportunities that are opening up for Basque companies on the international stage.

During today's meeting, the most important current topics were addressed, such as the evolution of the various markets of interest, joint initiatives and actions and the initiatives set in motion on an individual basis by each member of the Council, along with predictions for 2012.
Within the appraisal of 2011, attention should be drawn to the favourable evolution of the programs in support of internationalisation, managed by the Basque Ministry of Industry, and the volume of services afforded to companies via the SPRI Overseas Network of Business Offices. Here, the most noteworthy developments were noted in the following areas: the increase in the number of internationalisation grants afforded and the business and institutional missions, organised in collaboration with the Basque Chambers of Commerce, to the United Arab Emirates, in January, and to the United States, in October, involving the participation of more than 160 Basque companies hailing from different sectors.

Mr Unda classified the role played by exports in overcoming the current crisis as "momentous". He drew attention to the priority markets for the Basque Country, which includes the U.S. market. In this regard, he reported that between January and August of this year, Basque exports to the U.S. rose by 49.4% in comparison to the same period for 2010, amounting to a total of 908 million euros.

Today, the Basque Council for Internationalisation celebrated its second meeting. It was established a year ago and, chaired by the incumbent Minister for Industry, draws together fifteen bodies, including various departments of the Basque Government (Overseas Action, The Environment, Territorial Planning, Agriculture and Fishing and SPRI), the Chambers of Commerce of Álava, Bilbao and Gipuzkoa, the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa, ICEX, the Energy Cluster, ACEDE, the Basque Maritime Forum, AFM, Gaia, the Bilbao Exhibition Centre and the Workers' Commissions.

Bernabé Unda classified internationalisation as "a condition for the survival" of companies and the Basque economy itself and, having reviewed the economic situation of the eurozone, primarily, he turned his attention to the Basque Country. Here, he affirmed that "we cannot deny the importance of exports for our economy and in this sense we can state that they have evolved very well and that they frankly continue to evolve very well".

Whilst citing other figures, the Basque minister explained that this year the Basque economy and neighbouring economies have witnessed a small reversal in their evolution, with year-on-year GDP growth of 0.9% in the first quarter and 0.8% in the second. "In contrast", Mr Unda stated, "we have registered year-on-year growth in exports of 31.6% in the first quarter and 2.1% in the second, with a final result for growth of 19.8% over the course of the first six months".

The Basque Minister for Industry, Innovation, Trade and Tourism shared the opinions that point to deceleration of the growth rate during the fourth quarter and the first few months of 2012, particularly in the eurozone, as predictions for the United States are "moderately optimistic, indicating GDP growth of 2.1%".

Indeed, Mr Unda stressed that between January and August of this year, Basque exports to the U.S. rose by 49.4% in comparison to the same period for 2010, amounting to a total of 908 million euros.

He also emphasised the importance of countries with more dynamic economies, such as China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Turkey, Brazil, Russia and Poland. In this regard, he drew attention to growth of between 9 and 9.5% in exports to China by the end of the year and estimated growth of between 8.6 and 9% for 2012.


The Council for Internationalisation

The functions of the Council for Internationalisation are as follows:

• Providing a forum for contact between administrations and bodies that act within the field of promoting internationalisation.
• Coordinating the actions that represented bodies set in motion in the field of internationalisation.
• Establishing guidelines for collaboration between these bodies.
• Proposing and debating the initiatives for action that are presented.
• Evaluating the actions of represented bodies.
• Advising in relation to the drafting and implementation of plans for economic promotion insofar as they relate to the promotion of internationalisation.

The creation of this forum represented a step forward in terms of the objective of improving the competitiveness of the Basque economy and represents an example of collaboration at all levels. In terms of the Basque Ministry for Industry, Innovation, Trade and Tourism, the creation of the Council has strengthened the commitment to an open economy, one of the strategic cornerstones of the Business Competitiveness Plan.

Vitoria-Gasteiz, 1st of December 2011

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Politicians attending the event
(IX term 2009 - 2012)
  • Bernabé Unda
    Consejero de Industria, Innovación, Comercio y Turismo (IX term)