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Spanish Government Courts foreign investment

Source: EFE - Tue 23rd Nov 2010

The Spanish government encouraged foreign investors to bet on Spain and its high-potential sectors like renewable energy and infrastructure, and recalled the role that the Iberian country plays as a gateway for investment in Latin America.

At the same time, the government of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero kept its distance from the Irish economy hours after a European plan was launched to rescue Ireland's banks.

The situation in Ireland was a leading topic of discussion at the start of the Spain Investors Day event, which brings together more than 200 international investors and Spain's 33 most important companies that represent 70 percent of the Madrid stock market's benchmark Ibex 35 index.

Science and Innovation Minister Cristina Garmendia opened the meeting by assuring potential investors que Spain is "a nation of science" with highly qualified human capital.

She referred to Spanish firms outstanding for their innovations and pacesetters in renewable energy markets such as wind and solar.

Similarly, Industry Minister Miguel Sebastian expressed confidence that what he described as Spain's new, more sustainable and innovative economic model will attract investment, and stressed the solvency of the Spanish economy, which, he said "is very different from Ireland's."

For Sebastian, the financial rescue of Ireland is "positive" news that will help strengthen the euro, an opinion shared by the government's chief economic adviser, Javier Valles, who said that Ireland's economic bailout "guarantees" the financial stability of the euro zone.

Among Spain's strong points, Sebastian mentioned the "impressive" international expansion that Spanish companies have had, as well as Spain's sound infrastructure and its position as a gateway for investing in Latin America.

He underscored how giant Spanish companies in the fields of infrastructure, telecommunications and energy provide services in that and other regions around the world.

Among the challenges Spain faces, the minister identified the need to reduce the weight of the real estate sector, provide the labor market with greater flexibility and meet the commitment to reduce the public deficit through the government's austerity plan.

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