The Spanish Exporters and Investors Club has expressed its regret to the Government that the National Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan, "which is essential to continue strengthening the international activity of our productive fabric", devotes little attention to internationalisation and only contemplates the allocation to the sector of 0.3% of the funds foreseen; that is, barely 200 million euros of the 70,000 million that it plans to inject in the chapter on investment and productive transformation.
Antonio Bonet, president of the Exporters and Investors Club, recalls that the foreign sector has traditionally been the engine of recovery in different economic crises, and attributes the relative stagnation of the Spanish export sector more to structural problems than to cyclical issues. For this reason, he believes that the programme of economic reforms that will accompany the implementation of the National Recovery Plan "can be an important stimulus for exports to regain their dynamism".
In order to help improve the impact of the National Recovery Plan on the foreign sector, the Exporters' Club proposes a series of structural measures to the Government that focus on both business taxation and investment.
In the area of taxation, the Exporters' Club asks that the competitiveness of Spanish companies abroad be favoured by means of a tax system that does not penalise their activity and reduces their costs, especially social security contributions. In this sense, it points out that "raising the taxation of income obtained by subsidiaries abroad clearly discourages the presence of our companies in destination markets".
The organisation, which brings together internationalised Spanish companies, also insists on using the opportunity represented by the National Recovery Plan to facilitate the growth of small companies with a view to their conversion into medium-sized ones. To this end, it calls for tax incentives for the merger of SMEs and the modification of tax and labour regulations that discourage the growth of companies. Specifically, it calls for raising the turnover threshold from 6 to 20 million euros so that tax returns are monthly instead of quarterly.
It also proposes tax incentives for business investment in R&D&I and branding, and legal reforms to speed up the granting of public support for export financing, as well as facilitating the assumption of risks on behalf of the State in countries where Spanish companies' competitors have more financing.
With regard to the funds to be allocated to the implementation of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan, the Exporters' Club considers the measures envisaged for improving human capital for internationalisation, to which 50% of the resources allocated to internationalisation are earmarked, to be "positive and necessary". However, it recommends promoting market diversification through investment in information, promotion, image and institutional presence in regions where Spanish companies have a marginal penetration, specifically Sub-Saharan Africa and ASEAN, as well as in countries such as the United States, Japan and China, where exports represent a relatively small proportion of imports from these countries.
Also, as support for exporting companies, the Exporters' Club requests individualised accompaniment and support for SMEs with ambitious plans for growth in their international activity. In relation to this aspect, it points out that the 7.5 million euros planned "do not seem to allow for ambitious activity", and considers it "necessary and positive" that those companies that apply for financing under the plan "acquire export commitments to broaden the base of exporting companies".
Finally, the Club considers the funds initially earmarked for non-refundable financing of feasibility studies for projects in developing countries, which amount to only 50 million over three years, to be insufficient.
The Spanish Exporters and Investors Club is a multi-sectoral business association whose objective is to represent and defend the interests of Spanish companies with international activity. The worldwide turnover of the Club's members is equivalent to 20% of Spain's GDP. They have around 800,000 employees and their investments abroad represent 40% of Spanish investment stock abroad.