"China is an opportunity not a threat": Spanish business executive

Updated: February 24, 2023 Source: Xinhua News Agency
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Staff members pose for a photo in front of a Chinese exhibition booth during the International Tourism Fair FITUR 2023 in Madrid, Spain, Jan. 18, 2023. (Photo by Gustavo Valiente/Xinhua)

Orriols said Spanish companies have a great opportunity to help satisfy the growing demand in China for quality consumer products and services.

BARCELONA, Spain, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) -- "My business advice after working in and interacting with the Chinese market since 2004 is that we should not see China as a threat but as an opportunity," Marin Orriols, director of the International Department of the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, told Xinhua in an interview on Thursday.

"The best advice I can give as a specialist is to learn about the Chinese market, visit that market, talk to that market, forge alliances with that market," and try to benefit from the market knowledge, he said.

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Spain in March 1973, bilateral trade has increased to more than 43 billion euros (45.5 billion U.S. dollars), according to 2021 figures from the Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade (ICEX).

A resident poses for a photo with a lion dancer during an event to celebrate the Chinese New Year in Madrid, Spain, Jan. 20, 2023. (Photo by Gustavo Valiente/Xinhua)

"I encourage our businesspeople to go to China, to do business in China. It's complicated ... but it is worth it, and we are in a fantastic position to become good trading partners," Orriols said.

He argued that Spanish companies have a great opportunity to help satisfy the growing demand in China for quality consumer products and services.

"Trade is growing rapidly," he said, "while the consumption of China's expanding middle class continues to grow, it favors Spanish exports."

In the past 50 years, economic links between the two countries have been strengthened by high-level visits. According to Spanish press reports, Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez is scheduled to visit China this year.

Chinese New Year posters are seen on a street in Madrid, Spain, Jan. 21, 2023. (Photo by Gustavo Valiente/Xinhua)

Travel is another business opportunity that Orriols points to, with Spain being a global powerhouse in the tourism industry and China being the largest source of international tourists, especially now that the pandemic restrictions have been removed.

Orriols said that in places like Barcelona, more groups of Chinese tourists are seen. The tourists not only  generate very significant revenue but also act as ambassadors for Spanish products and services when they return China.

Orriols also believes that China's increasing investment abroad offers new business opportunities for Spanish companies.

"What do the Chinese need? Local partners. So, if we find that Chinese business with a good product or service that we believe has a future here, then what makes the most sense is to ally with them and to grow stronger together."

Spanish buyer Daniel Javier Salvador (C) talks with an exhibitor at the booth of a home appliances producer during the 130th session of the China Import and Export Fair, or the Canton Fair, in Guangzhou, south China's Guangdong Province, Oct. 15, 2021. (Xinhua/Liu Dawei)

Editor: Li Shimeng