FEDECOM Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceanía

For the third time so far this year, the General Assembly of the Federation of Official Chambers of Commerce of Spain in Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania (FEDECOM) was held.

On this occasion, the main reason of the meeting was to inform about the measures planned to face the consequences, essentially economic, that affect the chambers due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Along with the Strategic Plan presented by the Spanish Chamber of Commerce, specially aimed to reinforce the relationship between the territorial chambers and the network abroad, some formulas that affect the financial support necessary to cope with the crisis are under study.

The intervention of the Secretary of State for Commerce, Xiana Méndez, revealed the difficulties to find an immediate solution to the problem, that some chambers of the federation are starting to struggle with.

During the meeting some formulas were raised, that will be studied, to deal with the rising treasury needs.

General Assembly FEDECOM

The consequences of the pandemic affect specifically to the Chambers abroad, whose financial structure corresponds to non-profit organizations, which due to their official status they represent Spain, lacking of administrative resources and are managed by the representatives of associated companies. The cancellation of activities, the withdrawal of members, sponsorships and other sources of income, give serious difficulties to most of the chambers. FEDECOM is working to alleviate the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis. Despite the circumstances, the FEDECOM chambers, thanks to the enthusiasm and professionalism of their staff, keep their commitment to Spain and with their members.
On May 28th, FEDECOM Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania, the federation of the 23 official chambers of commerce on the 4 continents, gathered its General Assembly, with extraordinary character, to debate on the support measures claimed from the Secretary of State for Trade and the Spanish Chamber of Commerce, during the meeting on April 16 last. The agenda also included the approval of the constitution’ statutes of the new association.
Regarding about the financial support measures requested from the Administration, at the moment, they have not been addressed.
Respecting the measures aimed to strength the network of the Chambers abroad (CAMACOES), the Spanish Chamber of Commerce proposed a series of strategic lines in order to increase institutional and representative activities and promised to enhance the business activities and services.
FEDECOM has been an association under Belgian law until the recent decision to transform it into Spanish law. During the meeting, the new statutes were approved.

Board of Directors Meeting

On May 19th, the Board of Directors of the Chamber met telematically.

During the meeting, a review of the current situation of the Chamber derived from Covid-19 was made, the Competition Commission and the Spanish Financial Forum, two new working Committees recently created by the Chamber, were discussed and the upcoming events as well as the scheduled activities.

Likewise, the Board of Directors approved the annual accounts for the 2019 financial year for presentation at the Ordinary General Assembly that will take place by the end of June.

FEDECOM Ordinary General Assembly

The Federation of the Official Chambers of Commerce of Spain in Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania (FEDECOM) held last April 16, virtually, its Ordinary General Assembly.

From the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium, the President, Juan Rodríguez-Villa, participated in this meeting. The Assembly was mainly focused on the effects of the COVID-19, especially, on the economic and social impact that it has on the chambers integrated in the federation.

In the meeting participated 18 of the associated chambers. It was also attended by Cristina Olazabal, Deputy Assistant General Director for Internationalization Strategy, reporting to the Secretary of Commerce, and Jaime Montalvo, International Director of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce.

In their respective speeches, the participants offered to find solutions to the problems that the COVID-19 crisis is causing to the different chambers.

The President of FEDECOM, Eduardo Barrachina (UK), explained the need for an urgent reaction to face this serious threat, which puts the continuity of some of the entities at risk, if the appropriate measures are not taken.

All the representatives of the chambers explained the effects of the crisis in their respective territorial areas.

President Mr. Barrachina established a calendar for monitoring the actions of requesting aids, addressed to the Secretary of Commerce and the Spanish Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber creates a Competition Commission

The Chamber has just set up a new Competition Commission, to deal with specific issues and aspects of competition law and policy that may affect the Chamber‘s member companies. This new commission joins the other existing bodies: Forums, Legal and Financial.

With its establishment, the Chamber’s Board of Directors has decided to pursue three priority purposes:

  • To serve as a meeting and exchange point of knowledge between member companies that are interested in or affected by the European competition policy.
  • To provide a platform to discuss in “neutral territory” between companies, lawyers, consultants, DG Competition officers and the Spanish administration.
  • To reinforce Spain’s leadership as a European benchmark in Competition Law and Policy, both from a public and a private perspective.

For this purpose, the new Commission, which will be called “Competencia España”, foresees different lines of activity:

  • Organization of work meetings to discuss specific issues and initiatives of DG Competition.
  • Holding breakfast-debates or similar events with officers from the DG COMP and national authorities.
  • When appropriate, the preparation of opinion statements on specific legislative/regulatory proposals.
  • Preparation of documents/guides on competition policy, intended for Spanish companies.

To be part of this new Commission, it will be required to be a member of the Chamber and to have a proven experience in the field of competition.

“Competencia España” will be led by Miguel Troncoso, member of the Chamber’s Board of Directors and managing partner in Brussels of the prestigious Gomez-Acebo y Pombo law firm.

Those partners interested in joining the Commission or in obtaining further information may contact Marta González or Miguel Troncoso sending an email to secretariogeneral@e-camara.com.

Board of Directors Meeting

On March 19th, the Board of Directors of the Chamber met telematically following the recommendations imposed by the different European governments regarding the spread of the Coronavirus.

During the meeting they discussed, among other topics, about the measures taken by the Chamber to deal with the current situation, the new Competition Commission that will be set soon, and the collaboration that the Chamber is about to start with the “Fundación Carlos” of Antwerp.

In addition, Marta González was appointed as the new general secretary ad interim during the meeting.

Finally, the President and the entire Board of Directors wanted to thank María Catalán for the great work done over the past 7 years as head of the Chamber’s general secretary.

The Chamber supports the Three Kings’ Day Celebration

On January 11th, the traditional celebration of the Three Magic Kings which is organized annually, took place at the Boudewijn Seapark (Dolphinarium) in the city of Bruges. The event was sponsored by Santander Consumer Bank, and counted on the support of the members of the Board of Directors of the Chamber and the collaboration of Churros Valyser.

The initiative of this event responds, certainly, to the interpretation of corporate social responsibility by the Chamber, as a voluntary contribution to the welfare of families who, because of emigration, run the risk of abandoning the tradition of the endearing celebration of the Three Magic Kings.

From a few years to this part, the event is also aimed at refugee families, hosted by the OCMW institution of the City Council of Bruges.

During the day, the children were able to enjoy a paella, a dolphin show and “indoor” attractions, and received the visit and gifts of the Magic Kings.

Moreover, Juan Rodríguez Villa, President of the Chamber, received a diploma as a special thanks for his annual dedication to this event.

It was a dream day for the little ones, who had been waiting for the Magic Kings to give them toys and candies for 12 months.

From the Chamber we would like to express our gratitude to Mayor De Fauw and Councilman Franky Demon for their participation and support for this endearing event.


The Spanish Chamber signs agreement with Taplingua to improve foreign language skills of employees of Spanish companies via their mobile phones

The Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg has signed an agreement with leading start-up Taplingua to promote the learning of foreign languages in Spanish companies with a special focus in the tourism sector.

Taplingua is the first industry‑focused language learning App that serves business customers. Through this agreement, Taplingua will offer Spanish Chamber members a free two-week language training module and a 30% discount. Additionally, the Spanish Chamber staff will also receive free ongoing language training through the App.

Juan Rodriguez Villa-Matons, President of the Spanish Chamber, welcomed the agreement: “An important part of our role is to help Spanish companies to improve their competitiveness. Language skills are critical in the global marketplace hence partnerships like this offer significant benefits to our members”. “At an initial stage our joint focus will be on the tourism industry, which represents 14% of the Spanish GDP, and if the agreement is successful, we expect to roll it out to other sectors”, he added.

“We are delighted to partner with the Spanish Chamber to help Spanish companies acquire and serve international customers more effectively. Taplingua already has successful partnerships with major Spanish players such as Accor Hotels, Autogrill and various global hotel chains, and we expect that this agreement will allow us to expand and further contribute to the competitiveness of the Spanish tourism industry as a whole, including SMEs”, said Taplingua CEO Santanu Dasgupta. “As in any sector, market needs and solutions evolve. It is no secret that traditional language courses are too academic and not aligned with work or job requirements. At Taplingua, we aim to solve the significant barriers that employees face while using a second language and thus help them do their jobs better.

Taplingua uses advances in language learning frameworks to teach relevant course content packaged in an intuitive easy to use App. The App is powered by the most cutting edge technology e.g. Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and Voice Recognition to optimize the learning experience”, he added.

MERCADONA receives the Company of the Year Award from FEDECOM

The Federation of Official Spanish Chambers of Commerce in Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania (FEDECOM), presented last October 7 in Lisbon its Company of the Year Award to MERCADONA. FEDECOM distinguishes every year with this recognition a Spanish company that stands out for its commercial and economic activity in one of the member countries of the Federation.

The award ceremony took place in the Sala do Arquivo da Câmara Municipal de Lisboa and was attended by the presidents of the main business associations of Portugal as well as the Economic and Commercial Counselor of the Embassy of Spain in Portugal, Pedro Moriyon. The award was given by Mr. Eurico Brilhante Dias, Secretary of State for Internationalization of Portugal and, was received by Elena Aldana Prize, Director of External Relations in Portugal and European Affairs of MERCADONA.

MERCADONA closed the year of 2018 with 1,636 stores, 85,800 employees in Spain, a turnover of 24,305 million euros and an investment of 1,504 million euros. It also has an economic impact on the Spanish economy equivalent to 1.9% of GDP and is responsible for 630,000 direct and indirect jobs.

In July 2019, the company opened its first supermarkets in Portugal, this opening of the supermarket chain abroad, entailed its first internationalization project. The company already employs 1,100 Portuguese workers. Today, the company has already opened 5 stores of the 10 planned for 2019. The opening of the stores, the offices in Porto and Lisbon, the Logistics Block in Póvoa de Varzim and the Coinnovation Center in Matosinhos, represent an approximate global investment of 260 million euros, since its announced entry into the Portuguese country in 2016.

Eduardo Barrachina, president of FEDECOM, said: “In a world marked by political, economic and social uncertainties, the international expansion of MERCADONA becomes a good reference that reflects the adaptability of our companies.”

For her part, Elena Aldana, Director of External Relations of Portugal and European Affairs, commented: “We thank to FEDECOM for the recognition given to Mercadona in this important year for us, in which the company has developed its first internationalization project. This award is a result from the effort of all of us who form Mercadona. Only in this way it is possible to create a great company with a great Model, just as Mercadona is.”

Juan Rodriguez-Villa Matons and Maria Catalán, President and Secretary General, respectively, of the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg, attended the event.