Catalan government launches fund for industry with an initial endowment of €15m
Torrent starts work towards the new National Pact for Industry
The Catalan Government will launch a fund to capitalise strategic industrial investments this autumn. The fund will be given an initial endowment of only €15m, although it ought to be increased over the coming years, Catalan Minister for Enterprise and Employment Roger Torrent has explained. The final allocation will depend on the needs identified by the committee for the National Pact for Industry as well as the available budget.
This fund is part of the Government's proposals for the new National Pact for Industry 2022-2025, a pact that sets as its main objectives to increase the weight of industry in the Catalan economy from a current contribution of just over 19% of GDP to 25%, in addition to encouraging industrial companies to return to Catalonia (so-called reshoring), taking advantage of the fact that the covid crisis has highlighted the value of having suppliers nearer consumers.
This Friday, Roger Torrent chaired the first meeting with political parties, unions and employers to shape this pact, which, if all goes well, should be approved in January next year and will have five axes: sustainability, energy and circular economy; digitisation, industry 4.0, innovation and internationalisation; human capital, industrial employment, working conditions and training; and finally financing and business size. As explained by Torrent, industry gives more resilience to the economy, "generates more welfare and helps to better cope with crises such as covid or those that may come in the future". For Torrent, the industrial sector "is key to creating stable employment".
In addition, the National Pact for Industry will set up a permanent office for the transformation of the mobility and automobile industry. It will have to deal with the challenges of the reindustrialisation of the Nissan plant in Barcelona and vie for the battery plant for electric cars.
"If one industry closes, another has to open"
Torrent has assured that the National Plan for Industry cannot simply provide lofty ambition; instead, it needs to carry out specific actions. Among these is the need to take advantage of the covid crisis to promote industrial reshoring and good practices, to ensure the continuity of plants considering closing or offshoring. "There is a majority current in the European context that proposes reshoring of production. This generates a window of opportunity and the possibility of attracting different projects and investments", Torrent remarked. "If there is an industry that closes, another has to open," he added.
In addition to Torrent, the first meeting for the National Pact for Industry 2022-2025 was attended by the Secretary General of Business and Labour, Oriol Sagrera; the Secretary of Business and Competitiveness, Albert Castellanos; the Secretary of Labour, Enric Vinaixa; the Director General of Industry, Natàlia Mas, and the CEO of Acció, Joan Romero. There were also other representatives of the Government. It was also attended by the general secretary of Union UGT Catalonia, Camil Ros; the general secretary for industry of Union CCOO Catalonia, José Antonio Hernández, replacing Javier Pacheco, who could not attend; the deputy secretary general and director of the Department of Economy of employer association Foment, Salvador Guillermo, and the president of the Metallurgical Employers Union, Jaume Roura; and the president of the economy and business area of SME association Pimec, Angel Hermosilla. All parliamentary groups except Vox also sent delegates.