As part of its ongoing support for the Australia-European Union free trade agreement negotiations, ASBA held a discussion forum in Madrid last Friday 10 May.
The event brought together a roundtable of speakers to discuss issues pertinent to the Australia-Spain relationship and was organized in collaboration with the Australian Embassy Madrid and the Fundación Consejo España Australia.
Australian Ambassador Julie-Ann Guivarra provided an update on the current status of the negotiations, expressing optimism for a fruitful commercial relationship. Rocío Frutos, Assistant Director-General from the Ministry for the Economy and Competitiveness, outlined the Spanish perspective and reinforced the importance of transparency of the negotiations process.
Navantia’s experience in setting up naval operations in Australia was shared by Vicente Diez de Corral, Director of Tax Consulting and Jacques Reynaud from Polyglot Group, discussed the pros and cons of putting down roots in Spain for an Australian company. Alfonso López, Partner at Squire Patton Boggs, explained the importance of legal counselling for trade relations during FTA negotiations.
The Q&A session enabled open discussion for over 30 attendees to share with the speakers their internationalization experiences and the concerns they would like considered by the FTA. Feedback from the event, from both Australian and Spanish companies, is being compiled to contribute to a joint submission to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade by ABIE before the next round of negotiations in Brussels in early July.