Since CEOE established its Competitiveness, Trade and Consumption Commission (C4) less than a year ago, it has as one of its main objectives to serve as a voice to value trade and consumer consumption, in the broadest sense, as strategic sector for our economy and our society.

With 17% of the total Social Security affiliates, it is the first sector of the economy in terms of employment. In addition, it has a more stable employment than the average, given that 77.5% of wage earners in commerce have an indefinite contract, 2.3 percentage points above the average. Likewise, It was one of the sectors with the highest productivity gain between 2000 and 2018. In this period, it increased by 44.3%, more than double the increase registered in all sectors, of 18.6%.

A fundamental part of the action of the C4 is maintain a permanent and fluid dialogue with all the agents that represent consumption and, especially, with consumer associations, since they represent the voice of consumers.

Therefore, it is very important to know the opinion of consumers through the associations that represent them, so that the decisions adopted by this CEOE advisory body have the global vision that society needs. In this way, the importance and contribution of trade can be better translated as a strategic sector for our economy and to meet the needs of consumers.

During the meeting, the role of the Public Administrations as guarantors to develop adequate legislation for this and of the Consumer Associations that watch over and help to protect the consumer when it is not fulfilled or does not adapt to the real situation was revealed. as provided in the General Law itself for the defense of Consumers and Users.

In this context, both the CEOE president and the C4 president conveyed what the Commission was working on, with examples such as the recent position paper on multi-recidivist theft or the economic impact report of the commerce sector; but above all they proposed to look for synergies to share the vision of the consumers and the business world, and to establish communication channels to know the opinion and the positions of the consumers.

For his part, the Secretary General of Health and Consumer Affairs stressed the importance of establishing the Competitiveness, Trade and Consumer Affairs Commission in CEOE, stressing that “the achievement of the welfare of our citizens will only be effective through the cooperation of all market agents: economic operators, market surveillance authorities or organized civil society, each in its sphere of competence, with the mission of saving the risk of fragmented markets and with different levels of protection of consumers and users. The objective is the achievement of a single market and with the same level of protection of citizens ”.

Likewise, the General Director of Consumption highlighted the priority lines of work of the General Directorate of Consumption.

The meeting was attended by the following organizations of the Council of Consumers and Users (CCU), with the presence of its vice president, Félix Martín; the Confederation of Consumers and Users (CECU); the National Civic Union Federation of Consumers and Homemakers of Spain (UNAE); the Association of Users of Banks, Savings Banks and Insurance (ADICAE); the Federation of Independent Users and Consumers (FUCI); the Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU); the General Consumers Association (ASGECO); and the Spanish Confederation of Consumer and User Cooperatives (HISPACOOP). In addition, the Confederation of European Users and Consumers Associations (CAUCE) has participated, as well as the three vice-presidents of the C4: Pedro Campo, Juan Moral and Arturo Molinero.

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The elected president of Guatemala, Alejandro Giammattei Falla, held a meeting today with Spanish businessmen at the headquarters of the Business Confederation, on the occasion of his visit to Spain, to publicize the priorities of the new Government, after his inauguration as president of the Nation on January 14, 2020. The Secretary of State for Commerce, Xiana Méndez, participated in the Meeting; the CEOE CEO, Antonio Garamendi, and the International Director of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce, Jaime Montalvo, among other representatives of the Government and business institutions.

Giammattei was accompanied by the designated Foreign Minister, Pedro Brolo; his counterpart in Economics, Antonio Malouf; and Energy, Alberto Pimentel; the designated private secretary, Miguel Martínez; the president's advisor, Jairo Ponce; the head of the Bank, Maynor Mejía; and the president of the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce of Guatemala, Rafael Briz.

Reform Plan in Guatemala

The president of Guatemala, Alejandro Giammattei Falla, spoke of the measures that his Government will adopt and which are reflected in the “Innovation and Development Plan”, planned for the next fifteen years. In this regard, he mentioned that said Plan revolves around five priority axes, based on productivity and competitiveness; human development; effective governance to attract investment and development; transparency and efficiency in the various fields; and relations with the world, in order to restore trust.

Among his priorities, Giammattei contemplated promoting educational reform; improve the health system; develop the energy system; create a climate of legal certainty, based on clear rules to protect investors; and promulgate respect for investment and private property. He also said that Spain represents a role model for Guatemala, thanks to its competitive industry and the leadership of its companies. The president also expressed his willingness for the Central American country to become a logistics center in the region, through the construction of ports and railway lines that connect the two oceans (Atlantic and Pacific). He finally advocated promoting and fostering strategic alliances with foreign companies to contribute to the inclusive and sustainable growth of the country.

Bilateral relations

CEOE CEO Antonio Garamendi congratulated the new president-elect of Guatemala on his next appointment, and recalled that It is a very close country for us and with which we have worked intensely, especially in the preparation and development of the last Ibero-American Summit of Heads of State and Government held in Antigua. In this regard, he took the opportunity to highlight the excellent bilateral relations that both countries maintain and highlighted the presence of Spanish companies in key sectors of the Guatemalan economy, such as telecommunications, energy or agribusiness. He also referred to the institutional and regulatory framework, the result of excellent relations between the European Union and Guatemala. Special attention deserves, according to Garamendi, the Economic Partnership Agreement between the EU and Central America, which entered into force in 2013 and has allowed boosting trade between Spain and Guatemala above 40% in the last six months.

During his speech, Garamendi stressed the need to strengthen public governance, through the improvement of the judicial system and the fight against corruption, in order to establish a climate of security and trust for investors. He suggested, along the same lines, to improve the institutional and regulatory framework to boost investment and eliminate uncertainty among investors; and insisted on promoting a framework of public-private partnerships that will attract the necessary private capital to undertake the investments required for the modernization of public infrastructure and services that the country needs to achieve the SDGs of the 2030 Agenda.

The Secretary of State for Commerce, Xiana Méndez, stressed that Spanish companies are committed to Guatemala and this fact is reflected in that Spain is the main European investor and supplier of goods and services in the country. "This is due, in part, to the effort made by the Guatemalan authorities to generate a business climate favorable to investment, taking advantage of the high levels of competitiveness offered by the country," he said.

He also explained that Spanish investment is attracted to Guatemala, not only because it is the largest economy in the region, but because it is the gateway to the Central American market; and pointed out that Guatemala requires more investment in infrastructure, which is also an opportunity for Spanish companies with great knowledge in this sector.

The director of International of the Chamber of Spain, Jaime Montalvo, has referred in his speech to the close relations between the two countries. Spain is the main European investor in Guatemala, with more than 150 companies established in that market, and also the main exporter. In that sense, "the Spanish Chambers of Commerce are available to their new Government to maintain a fluid relationship and strengthen ties between our business communities, building a prosperous, inclusive and sustainable relationship," he said.

Montalvo has also highlighted the role of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Guatemala, “one of the best exponents of the possibilities offered by inter-company collaboration between our countries and one of the main engines for attracting and consolidating Spanish investment in Guatemala".

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The CEOE headquarters has hosted the first edition of the Intersectorial Crisis Management Forum organized in collaboration with Banco Santander. An event in which representatives of some of the leading Spanish companies have discussed the importance of carrying out a good crisis management based on technology and employee training to maintain the company's reputation.

The event was inaugurated by the Vice President of CEOE, Íñigo Fernández de Mesa, and by the Global Head of Resilience, Recovery and Resolution of Santander Bank, Alicia Sanchis. Both have highlighted the importance of people as a management center in times of difficulty: "Before a crisis, priorities must be established and the first one is people," Fernández de Mesa explained.

Along these lines, he stressed that in order to strengthen business resilience, it is necessary to carry out a retrospection exercise, encourage creativity, work in teams and train.

The Forum has had three panels of experts to deal with all these issues in a transversal way. The first one has focused on how companies can prepare for possible crises in the next decade and has had the participation of Francisco Gutiérrez, Repsol Emergency Response Coordinator; Manuel Torres, Business Continuity director of Bankia; Javier Orduñez, Global Business Continuity manager of Mapfre; Carlos Manchado, CISO de Naturgy; and Jesús Muñoz, Chief Security Officer of Telefónica. This panel has highlighted the importance of adapting to different scenarios to face crises: “Companies must carry out joint drills to respond to complex crises,” said Muñoz.

In the second panel, the challenges and opportunities of the technological era for effective crisis management have been discussed. In it, Rubén Olague, Cyber ​​Respond of Banco Santander, intervened; Carlos Vizoso, CTO of ESIC Business & Marketing; Daniel Zapico, CISO of Globalia; Juan Manuel Gil, general director of F24 Spain; Jesús Revaliente, Global Chief Security Officer Iberia & Latam de Securitas Direct; and as moderator Julio San José, Cybersecurity partner of EY.

In this block, the relevance of technology has been highlighted, which offers opportunities that cannot be missed in terms of crisis, although all participants have agreed that it is essential to combine it with the human factor.

The last panel, which has focused on communication as an amplifier-mitigator of crises, has been moderated by Begoña Beneytez, Global Head of Reputation Risk of Banco Santander, and Javier Vicente has participated in it; Director Organization, Transformation and Talent of Cofares; Juan Emilio Maillo, Communication Director of Telefónica; Miguel López Quesada, Director of Communication and Institutional Relations of Gestamp; Sebastián Cebrián, general director of Villafañe Consulting; and Javier Fernández, Corporate Communication Director of Mapfre.

"We are in a permanent, structural crisis, and the concept of resilience begins to gain ground," López Quesada said during his speech. Along these lines, Cebrián has added that the communication manual has died because organizations coexist with crises.

The importance of communication in crisis management

The closing ceremony was carried out by the CEOE CEO, Antonio Garamendi; the CFO of Banco Santander, José García Cantera; and Jorge Gómez of HSI. All have highlighted the idea that good communication is essential for crisis management. “We have to improve trust and work on common protocols,” explained García Cantera.

For his part, Antonio Garamendi has stressed that from CEOE that communication is already working in depth, highlighting the importance of prevention in the face of crisis management.

As he said, one of the keywords in the field of communication must always be "prevention."

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The President of the Institute of Economic Studies, Íñigo Fernández de Mesa, and its General Director, Gregorio Izquierdo, today presented a report dedicated to public debt in Spain, which includes the high level of indebtedness of our country, located in 97.6% of GDP in 2018. The document shows that, despite the fact that the economy has expanded in recent years at rates much higher than its potential growth, an annual average of 3%, among the years 2015 and 2018, fiscal imbalances have not yet been corrected forcefully.

The level of public debt affects economic growth in a non-linear manner, triggering its negative effects from a certain threshold. Thus, a high degree of leverage by the public sector makes the economy more vulnerable to adverse shocks, reduces the margin to carry out a countercyclical fiscal policy response and increases uncertainty about debt payment, in addition to the fact that it can move the private sector from access to financing and modify the behavior of economic agents if they anticipate future tax increases. In addition, states are forced to allocate a significant part of their income to the payment of interest. Spain allocates more than 6% of its budgetary income to the item ‘national debt service’.

The fact of belonging to the eurozone and being under the umbrella of the ECB and the euro, together with the current situation of interest rates, and with very lax monetary policies, such as the purchase of public debt by the ECB itself, is masking some risks. These measures by the monetary authority to keep rates at record lows and the systematic purchase of public debt have brought the cost of borrowing in the euro countries also to their lowest levels, apparently without taking into account the fundamentals of the economy of each country. In fact, Spain is issuing new debt with negative returns for maturities at five years and below, which is still an anomalous situation that will reverse over time as the ECB begins to normalize its monetary policy.

During these years, governments have neglected the adoption of the structural reforms and measures necessary to undertake the reduction of our debt. A unique opportunity to correct budgetary imbalances and tackle the problem of excessive indebtedness has been lost. Moreover, it has been the opposite, everything has been entrusted to the growth and laxity of monetary policy, and budgetary consolidation has been neglected. But we cannot lose sight of the fact that unconventional monetary policy is designed for an extraordinary situation and cannot last forever. However far the ECB normalization process may seem, it will come. One must look at the long term and recover the principles of economic orthodoxy, giving an additional boost to fiscal consolidation to finally achieve a credible and consistent path of surpluses, taking advantage of the fact that the cycle still maintains a positive tone. Otherwise, the next bearish cycle will reach us in a vulnerable position, without monetary or fiscal ammunition.

The factors that influence debt sustainability are, fundamentally, economic growth, the cost of debt, the stock of said debt and the primary fiscal balance. From them you can specify those endogenous factors on which a country without monetary sovereignty has the capacity to influence to improve the sustainability of the debt, which are essentially the risk premium, economic growth and fiscal balance. The potential growth needs structural reforms that affect factor and product markets, especially in a context, such as that of the Spanish economy, with low productivity and demographic aging. The reduction of the structural deficit will require adequate budgetary consolidation, while the risk premium tends to experience tensions when the institutional and regulatory climate is not stable and predictable. In addition, these factors are, in turn, interrelated. For example, it should be noted that an improvement in potential growth due to the implementation of appropriate reforms can contribute to reducing the deficit.

According to recent evidence of our environment and the latest studies, the fiscal consolidation processes that are carried out through the improvement of the efficiency of public spending and through the containment of spending are less harmful for the growth of the economy and employment , and are perceived for much less time, than when fiscal consolidation is undertaken by way of increasing taxes, which has a greater negative impact on private investment and the trust of agents, extending its negative effects for several years . In addition, within this containment of public spending, there is ample room to improve its efficiency and equate with the best practices within the international public sectors, which can contribute to a fiscal saving compatible with the maintenance of the quality of the services.

Debt Day

On the other hand, this document includes the adaptation made by the Institute of Economic Studies for Spain of the report on the state of public accounts in the twenty-eight countries of the European Union, which is annually carried out by the Institut Économique Molinari. Under the title of the Debt Day, the report indicates that December 9 is the date on which public revenues end up being able to finance public spending in our country, and as of this date public spending must be financed via public deficit , with the consequent increase in public debt.

The calculation of the Debt Day for 2018, carried out with Eurostat data, shows that the most bulky negative budget balance of the EU was the one harvested by Cyprus (November 24). The second place goes to Romania (November 30), while Spain closes the top three, with which the income of our AA.PP. they finance only public spending made from January 1 to December 9. Eleven countries of the EU-28, despite having deficits, present a better budgetary picture than Spain, while the other fourteen achieve a positive budget balance; that is, a fiscal surplus that allowed them to finance all public spending of 2018 with the resources achieved that same year, income that was sufficient to pay part of the 2019 expenditure. The average of the AA.PP. of the EU reaches its Debt Day on December 25, which only covers six days a year with debt.

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The president of Iberia, Luis Gallego, stressed that the purchase of Air Europa by Iberia is “an opportunity for Madrid and Spain”, and added that the operation, which is pending approval by the competition authorities, “will get Madrid to become a hub of first division", during his speech at the CEOE-CEPYME Business Meeting.

In this meeting, which was held today in Madrid under the title 'Madrid, from a hub for Latin America to a global hub', Luis Gallego also stressed that “IAG's vocation is to develop its investments”, as it has done previously with other companies acquired by the group. In addition, he has stated that this purchase “will continue to help Spain generate employment and tourism", And stressed that" the best way to protect employment is to have strong companies. "

Coinciding with the celebration of the COP25 Climate Summit in Madrid, Gallego has also referred to the sustainability of the airline. In this regard, he has assured that there will be a “new sustainable and efficient fleet, which benefits the customer and low emissions" In addition, he has ensured that air traffic accounts for “2.5% of global CO2 emissions”, and has stated that “not all destinations have a possible alternative” to air transport.

Regarding the situation of international air market competition in Spain after the operation, once it is completed, Gallego has stressed that “it will continue to be very competitive”, since Ryanair has 22%, compared to 19% that the IAG group would reach after the purchase of Air Europa.

Regarding intermodality with the AVE, Luis Gallego has stated that “The high speed has to be at the airport”, since getting “having the train connected to the hub would be a great improvement”. He also mentioned the Single European Sky, "a project that would enable greater efficiency, much more efficient routes, less fuel consumed and less CO2 emitted".

For his part, the CEO of CEOE, Antonio Garamendi, stressed that "Iberia is an example of our country's ambassador at all levels."

Finally, Gerardo Cuerva, president of CEPYME, has closed the meeting, thanking the sponsoring companies – Cuatrecasas and Hewlett Packard Enterprise – to make these meetings possible, and has indicated that Iberia's projects “are long-term projects, projects of country, strategic ”, while ensuring that“ SMEs need large tractor companies in Spain to carry out our activity ”.

With these meetings, the two business organizations promote a new space to exchange ideas and experiences that explain how leaders and companies have faced the challenges demanded by globalization and innovation.

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CEOE has gathered about 50 dircoms of territorial business organizations associated around the Territorial Project, during an event held in Madrid on November 25 and 26 and which has been sponsored by AENOR and the consultant Vinces. The objective of the project is to connect all the regional associations of Spain, which together represent more than three million entrepreneurs and freelancers in our country.

For this purpose, during the last year five working groups have been created and 10 meetings of communication directors of CEOE member organizations have been held in different parts of Spain: Burgos, Oviedo, León, Valencia, Seville, Malaga, Palma de Mallorca and several in Madrid.

The event, which has been held in two days, has had the participation of experts in various fields related to corporate communication on its first day. Thus, the managing partner of Vinces, a consultant specialized in advising the CEO in his relations with the Public Administration; and the executive director of the Spanish Network of the Global Compact, Cristina Sánchez, responsible for strategic planning, project coordination and financing of the organization.

During the second day, the director of communication and brand of AENOR, Jesús Gómez-Salomé; the journalist and president of the consultancy 50 & 50 GL, Gloria Lomana; academics experts such as Alfredo Arceo, full professor at the Complutense University of Madrid and master's degree in Corporate and Advertising Communication; the marketing expert and doctor in Senior Business Management, Jesús Hernández Ruiz; or the specialist in digital communication and director of large accounts of Atrevia, Hugo Caula.

In addition, attendees were able to learn about the good practices in corporate communication of five of the DIRCOM participants in the meeting, who presented their proposals at a round table moderated by Hugo Caula. The CEOE CEO, Antonio Garamendi, was in charge of closing the meeting.

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Gestamp Automoción was awarded yesterday, in the category of "Spanish company", during the 5th edition of the Awards of the Official Chamber of Commerce and Industry Hispanic-Turkish,

Gestamp Automotive

Gestamp launched the Adares wind farm in Turkey, with a power of 10 megawatts (MWs). The wind farm consists of 5 Gamesa G97 wind turbines of 2MW of power and will have an average production of 30,000 megawatts per year, covering the demand of some 13,000 Turkish homes, and avoiding the emission of 14,000 tons of CO2 annually.

Participants and winners

In addition to Gestamp, the president of the Consejoimsa Cementos Council, Tamer Saka, in the category of “Turkish company” and the president of the Investment Office of the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey (ISPAT), Arda Ermut, received the award the category of "Professional Merit." Also participating in the ceremony were the president of the Official Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Hispano-Turca (institution organizing the event), Esther González; Turkey's ambassador to Spain, Cihad Erginay; and the executive director of Invest in Spain, María Jesús Fernández García.

The Hispanic-Turkish Chamber has as an objective to be an institutional instrument that promotes economic, commercial and cultural relations between Spain and Turkey, and wants to recognize, through the granting of these awards, those Spanish and Turkish people, institutions or entities that, with their activity and dedication, have stood out for their contribution to greater mutual growth or a higher level of interrelation between the two countries in the commercial, cultural and social fields.

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The data made public by the Ministry of Labor, Migration and Social Security show that the registered unemployment increases in November for the fourth consecutive month. LThe figures for unemployment, hiring and affiliation to Social Security confirm the slowdown in economic activity and, with it, employment.

In this stage we must continue to insist on the importance of achieving social, political and institutional stability that creates a climate of trust and legal certainty, which boosts investments and slows the decompassing that has been appreciating in recent months between economic growth and employment and that responds not only to the cooling of the global economy, but also to uncertainty – which translates into the loss of business confidence of almost three point according to the INE survey – and probably the increase in labor costs.

Therefore, it is a priority to undertake, within the framework of dialogue and social consultation, changes that favor economic recovery and growth and job creation in a sustained manner, without such process being hampered by measures that entail greater rigidities and costs for the companies.

The number of unemployed increases this month by 20,525 people, to 3,198,184 unemployed. Although we are facing the lowest unemployment figure in a month of November since 2008, it is significant that it is the largest increase in that month since 2016. In seasonally adjusted terms unemployment increases by 4,113 people.

In the valuation of these data it cannot be ignored that November is a traditionally negative month for employment, due to the end of the last positive effects of the summer season, to which this year the global economy slowdown and uncertainty in the national and international level.

Therefore, when the analysis is seasonally adjusted, it is important to highlight how the balance of the last twelve months reflects a drop in unemployment in 54,683 registered unemployed, with an interannual rate that slows down to -1.68% from -5.49% of the month of January.

All of this abounds in the need to intensify efforts to generate a climate of trust that will improve employment levels, making possible the social cohesion and sustainability of our welfare system.

Aligned with the unemployment data, those of Social Security affiliation reflect a drop compared to the previous month by 53,114 people. In this way we are facing the biggest decline in this month since 2013. The number of employed affiliates stands in November at 19,376,878. However, in seasonally adjusted terms, membership increases by 30,610 people.

In order to seasonally analyze the affiliation figures, we observe that in annual terms the affiliation increases by 431,254 people, of which 417,266 correspond to the General Regime. In this way, the interannual rate stands at 2.28%, with a progressive fall from 2.94% in January.

>> Labor Market Observatory-December 2019

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CEOE has participated in the first day of the COP25 Climate Summit held these days in Madrid with an event entitled ‘Leadership shared by sustainability’. The event has dealt with important challenges that must be tackled from the business world in the current moment of deep transformation. Mainly, digitalization and sustainability require a new model of shared leadership between men and women that is based on talent and diversity.

The general director of the Higher Institute of Business Studies, María Teresa Gómez-Condado, participated in the event; the vice president of EJE & CON, Paloma del Val; the director of Promociona Chile, María Elena Sanz; the sustainability director of the Pecsa Group, Cristina Gutiérrez; and the Director of Education and Training of CEOE, Juan Carlos Tejeda.

On the occasion of the Climate Summit 2019 held in Madrid, CEOE has also wanted to value the importance of equality, especially in regard to leadership, as María Teresa Gómez Condado highlighted: “Currently, companies Committed are the new leaders. ” Along these lines, CEOE develops the Promociona and Progresa programs, which seek to promote women to senior management and management positions, respectively.

These projects aim to increase the presence of women in positions of high responsibility by identifying and promoting female talent; with a complete program to strengthen the professional and leadership skills of women, in addition to raising awareness among companies. "We are not sustainable if we are leaving half of the population that are women out of the labor market," María Elena Sanz, director of Promociona Chile, explained during the event. Since the success of the program in Spain has made it reach other countries, such as Chile or Portugal.

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