The 2013/03/04 at 08:13
Valérie Demon, in Madrid
Innovation and globalisation are to continue on their way hand in hand. This is the new objective of the Spanish Ministry for the Economy and Competitiveness. The Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI), a public company, and the Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade (ICEX), both organisms of the Ministry of the Economy, have recently signed a collaboration agreement. Their aim: to coordinate policy on innovation and globalisation.
The CDTI channels demands for financing and support for R&D projects made by Spanish businesses in Spain as well as overseas. This body finances selected projects and ensures promotion of Spain’s participation in international programmes. There are currently eight small delegations of the CDTI. “But these do not really constitute a solid international network,” states a representative from the Secretary of State for Trade. Five delegations – those based in Shanghai, Washington, Sao Paulo, Santiago and Rabat – are now to physically join up with the trade delegations of ICEX. The delegations in Bombay, Tokyo and Mexico City are not included this procedure, the first two being already part of the Spanish Embassy and the third subject to technical difficulties. This rapprochement is innovative in that “this is the first time that one State entity is joining up with another,” points out the representative from the Secretary of State for Trade. The CDTI also has an office in Brussels to promote Spanish participation in European programmes.
Another aspect of the collaboration agreement is a new scholarship programme. ICEX already uses this system, but has now decided to implement it to strengthen the CDTI overseas. Sixteen scholarships, worth a maximum of 20,000 euros, will be introduced to cover some twenty countries spread over four continents. Scholarship holders will work in the same conditions as those already supported by ICEX, and will head to Australia, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Israel, South Africa, Colombia, Algeria, Egypt, Canada, Argentina and Russia. In concrete terms, these scholarship holders and delegates will focus their activities on boosting international competitiveness, in order to attract private capital towards Spanish R&D. It is thus hoped that the Spanish brand be created little by little in the technological domain. Finally, efforts are to be made to strengthen bilateral programmes involving Spanish and foreign companies.
Ever since the Spanish government’s arrival to power, it has attempted to rationalise the use of its foreign trade network. Several entities such as Invest in Spain have already been teamed up with ICEX. A majority of regional trade delegations have already been incorporated into ICEX offices overseas. Madrid and Estremadura were the last autonomous communities to sign. Only Catalonia and the Basque region, governed by nationalists and guarding their skills jealously, have shown no interest in this procedure. Yet progress needs to be made on the organisation of goods-export trips made by Spanish regions in order to avoid double-ups.