A conversation with José Luis Moreno, Economist, Director General of the Economy Department of the City Council of Madrid
Madrid’s performance in the field of foreign investment in recent years has been excellent, increasing its share in relation to the whole of Spain and consolidating itself as an attractive destination at an international level. However, 2020 comes with some elements of uncertainty, such as the international trade tensions or the outcome of Brexit, which can undermine investors’ confidence and initiative.
In this context, we talked with José Luis Moreno, General Director of Economy of the City Council of Madrid, about the attractiveness of the city, the outlook for 2020 and the instruments and initiatives that the City Council has at its disposal to attract sustainable and wealth-generating foreign investments.
M.I.A.: Madrid has obtained excellent results in foreign investment in recent years, increasing its share in relation to the whole of Spain. What makes the city so appealing to international investors?
J.L.M.: Madrid received in 2018 more than 41,6 billion euros worth of gross foreign investment, 85% of the national total; and hosts 4,831 subsidiaries of foreign companies that employ 812,000 workers.
Our city has many things going for it: a market of 7 million people living less than an hour from its center, great talent from its 14 universities and business schools, access to excellent financing and the presence of large corporations.
In addition, as a cosmopolitan and friendly city, it offers a good quality of life, excellent physical and legal security, as well as a stable and predictable fiscal, social and work environment.
M.I.A.: The year that has just begun has some elements of uncertainty, -the trade war, definition of Brexit, – that can undermine investor confidence and initiative. What perspectives does a city like Madrid have in this context? How can it benefit from deep changes in the field of trade and investment?
J.L.M.: The foreseeable greater uncertainty in our environment makes Madrid, precisely because of its predictability, a safe destination for investments, opportunities and business projects. In that context, we are a safe haven for sustainable growth.
M.I.A.: Which sectors and activities present more opportunities for international investment in the city?
J.L.M.: In addition to the opportunities in the real estate, offices, student residences and hotel sectors that the Castellana Norte urban regeneration project and other operations will enhance, Madrid is increasingly attractive to technology companies in areas such as cybersecurity, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Fintech and Health, given the availability of qualified human capital and the high quality of our technological infrastructure.
We are also becoming a leader in the areas of mobility and the circular economy.
M.I.A.: What objectives and instruments is the City Council of the capital developing to attract sustainable and wealth-generating foreign investments?
J.L.M.: We have been working together with hundreds of companies in Madrid for months in the search for talent and investments. Moreover, at Madrid Investment Attraction we are supporting five clusters, mobilizing companies and professionals in the fields of engineering and architecture, cybersecurity, big data, fintech and the circular economy.
We foster sectoral cooperation to enhance our competitiveness and promote our business opportunities.