SPAIN - Economy
President, Chamber of Commerce of Mallorca
Antoni Mercant Morató was elected president of the Chamber of Commerce of Mallorca on 25 June 2018. He is a captain in the Merchant Navy and holds a degree in Nautical and Maritime Transport. Since 2012 he has been the representative of the shipping company Trasmediterránea in the Balearic Islands. He is also the president of Sociedad Anónima de Gestión de Estibadores Portuarios (SAGEP – Port Stevedores Management Company) of Palma and Ibiza. He is a member of the board of directors of the Association of Employers of Maritime Activities of the Balearic Islands (APEAM) and the Navigation and Port Council. Due to his business position, he collaborates with the Directorate General of Ports of the Balearic Government and the Port Authority, mainly in matters related to safety in the transport of dangerous goods.
The Chamber of Commerce of Mallorca is an organization of economic diplomacy. The Chamber was established 135 years ago and has acquired an international approach that has intensified over the years. We are part of a lobby group of chambers of commerce called the Network of the Insular Chambers of Commerce and Industry of the European Union (Insuleur), and we hold the position of secretary general of this organization. We seek to promote the economy of these islands, which share a common disadvantage due to the fact that we are separated from the European continent, and this means a considerable economic disadvantage in terms of cost of living, transport costs and land scarcity, for example. In our case, Mallorca is the most populated one of the Balearic Islands. Most of the public officials of the regional government and private businesses are located on this island. The headquarters of the most important businesses in the Balearic Islands are also in Mallorca, as are most politicians and lobby groups. There are 1.1 million residents on the Balearic Islands. Of that, 12,000 are in Formentera, 100,000 in Ibiza, 80,000 in Menorca, and 900,000 in Mallorca. We have a strong collaboration with the chambers of Ibiza and Menorca because we are part of the same insular status. Our mission is to always offer a way to develop common projects.
Before the pandemic, we had a narrow view of foreign investment into Mallorca. The situation has completely changed since then, and we have realized there are many important sectors that we need to work with to further develop them. There are more than 120,000 companies in Mallorca, and we are committed to supporting every company incorporated on the island. We support businesses because this will help the economy of the Balearic islands and its society. Now, we are closely monitoring non-traditional sectors on the island such as agriculture and industrial production, as we were mostly focused completely on the services sector. Tourism is an important sector of the economy of Mallorca, though we see foreign investment in other sectors such as wine production and ecologic agriculture. These areas were not a priority for us before the pandemic, because it was cheaper to import these products instead of developing these products here. Right now, it is an important challenge to have a new vision, an international vision for Mallorca that includes paying attention to the sustainability of our products and the digitalization of processes.
We are focusing on improving sustainability, digitalization, and catering to EU funds to finance long-term projects. Among other projects, there are currently discussions on the island around using sewage water for irrigation, for example. All this requires future investments. This is the moment to invest and support the development of more sustainable islands. The Balearic Islands are an important geostrategic location in the Mediterranean. The return of mobility will allow us to regain our importance. Many start-ups and digital nomads are coming to Mallorca because of its strategic location. It takes two hours to fly from Palma to Berlin, Paris, Munich, Rome, or Lisbon.
As a business organization, we want to support all forms of business, regardless of their size, which is why our plan is to pay extra attention to freelancers and SMEs. We are supporting them in their digitalization and internationalization process. There are some areas in which more skilled workers are required, so we need to provide training. We want to expedite the growth of small businesses, which have been heavily affected by the pandemic. In that regard, the Chamber is hosting virtual conferences as part of our digitalization strategies. Training, the development of startups, and greater support for businesswomen are some of the key areas that we should further develop. We must support the weaker areas of the business sector. That is where we are focusing on and where we are putting in place most of our actions.
SPAIN - Real Estate & Construction
Director, Jaime Salvá Architecture and Interior Design
SPAIN - Real Estate & Construction
Director, Gras-Reynés Architecture Studio
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