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Senior Commerce Official Cameron Kerry Emphasizes Importance of U.S.-Spanish Commercial Ties at Latino Business Forum

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

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Senior Commerce Official Cameron Kerry Emphasizes Importance of U.S.-Spanish Commercial Ties at Latino Business Forum

Representing the U.S. Department of Commerce, General Counsel Cameron Kerry emphasized the importance of strengthening commercial ties between the United States and Spain at today’s Spain-U.S. Latino Business Forum.

Participating in a roundtable discussion, Kerry highlighted the contributions of Spanish companies to the U.S. economy and stressed the importance of creating new opportunities for U.S. exports in Spain. He also underscored the importance of open markets, both in the United States and Spain.

“Nothing is more important to the Commerce Department than promoting increased economic ties between the United States and its many trading partners, including Spain,” Kerry said. “This includes not only encouraging Spanish companies to increase their business in the U.S., but also helping U.S. companies to grow in Spain.”

The goal of today’s forum was to connect U.S. Latino and Spanish firms to stimulate U.S.-Spanish commercial growth. Sponsored by the New America Alliance – a national organization of Latino and Latina business leaders working to advance the American Latino community – the event included presentations by senior Spanish officials, CEOs from leading Spanish and U.S. Latino companies, Obama administration officials and Members of Congress.

The United States is the largest source of foreign investment in Spain, and in 2009, U.S. exports to Spain exceeded $8.8 billion. Spanish investment in the United States has grown dramatically, from $14 billion in 2006 to more than $38 billion in 2008. Spanish companies are also the largest foreign investors in the U.S. renewable energy sector, which helps create jobs in America. Through his National Export Initiative (NEI), President Obama has raised the importance of exporting with a goal of doubling U.S. exports over the next five years to support two million American jobs.

President Obama met last fall with Spain’s Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero at the White House, where he underscored the depth and importance of U.S.-Spain commercial ties and the potential for new growth.  Earlier this year, Juan Verde, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Europe at Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA), traveled to Madrid as part of the first senior-level ITA visit to Spain in five years. During the trip, Verde advanced market access issues in the renewable energy sector and stressed the importance of protecting intellectual property rights.