Jaime Malet, president of the US Chamber of Commerce in Spain
Maria Jesús Cañizares, January 15, 2022
The president of the US Chamber of Commerce in Spain warns that the companies that left “will not return if some keep saying that they will do it again (unilateralism)”
Jaime Malet was one of the first businessmen to warn of the negative consequences of the ‘procés’ in the Catalan economy. The independence movement criticized him harshly for this. “They made me ‘escraches’ on Twitter, which is where the idiots dedicate themselves to insulting.” Time and the almost 6,000 companies that left Catalonia have proved him right. The President of the US Chamber of Commerce in Spain writes about that convulsive stage in his book ‘Del Tibidabo al mar’ (RBA), a compendium of articles where he explains the Catalan problem.
His vision of the secessionist challenge is devastating. “Companies will not return to Catalonia as long as they keep saying they will do it again,” he says in an interview on the COPE Catalunya program ’Converses’, in which ‘Crónica Global’ participates. He considers that “control of institutions by the independentists”, which in his opinion dates back to Jordi Pujol’s Program 2000, “has been brutal” and that “I don’t know how some can sleep with all the misdeeds they have done”.
The businessman and lawyer warned when the ‘procés’ began “of the existing discomfort in the companies, of the ruin that it could mean for Catalonia. It made no sense”. For the American companies that he represents, this challenge “did not go unnoticed, because the Government dedicated itself to making propaganda. The world is very big and there are very important problems, but they felt responsible for attracting investment and talent to Spain.”
He assures, contrary to what the Generalitat maintains, that foreign investment has plummeted. “Fifteen years ago, Catalonia had 40% investment capacity. Now it is less than 18%. Before it was an industrial magnet, then it was touristic. We will see what remains now. It is not a criticism, it is a call for responsibility and for the Government stopping saying you won’t comply with the law.”
In one of the stories published in his book, Malet accuses the secessionists of leading the Catalan community to the “cliff”, but “Catalonia will never be independent, it is not enough to have idiosyncrasies”. He affirms that many businessmen “did not want to take sides. I presented a former president of the Generalitat in Madrid as business friendly, when in reality he contributed to the fact that more than 5,000 companies left Catalonia.”
Jaime Malet has referred to “clientelism”, typical of “small places with regimes that last for years and that in some cases end up in corruption. There comes a time when a feeling appears that you are untouchable. They have friends in high positions, participate in the financing of parties and then they believe that independence is necessary”.
The businessman predicts that the independence movement “will continue to control everything, the institutions, the media… And they will make a big deal, as they have done with the ruling on the Catalan language, generating victimhood. There is a serious danger that Catalan will be a political language, aimed only at people who think that Catalonia should be independent. It’s a very sad picture. Young people are fed up and it’s difficult to make a revolution with older people.” Very harsh with TV3 and Catalunya, “media that I pay with my taxes and that generate hate”, he claims to be concerned about “people around you who try to shut you up. They haven’t shut me up, but have shut others up”.
He assures that companies in the United States see Spain “in a situation with high unemployment, debt, low birth rates. But also the great opportunity represented by the 140,000 million that it will receive (Next Generation) and the advantage of having infrastructures (roads, airports, AVE…) that are already done. Our telecommunications network is equivalent to that of Germany, Italy and France together”.