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New Canada Observatory: An Evening of Conversation on the Opportunities and Policy changes after the 2019 Federal Election in Canada

New Canada Observatory | IE Transatlantic Relations Initiatives

The Transatlantic Relations Initiative presents the new Canada Observatory On behalf of the IE School of Global and Public Affairs.

As the leading international educational institution at the intersection of global business and public policy, the IE School of Global and Public Affairs inaugurated on Monday the Canada Observatory of its Transatlantic Relations Initiative by hosting the first event in Spain that explored the results of the Canadian federal elections and its impact for Spanish businesses.

Students and experts in the audience delved into the business relationship between Canada and Spain by listening to reflections about new opportunities and policy changes after this month´s election.

The Ambassador of Canada to the Kingdom of Spain and the Principality of Andorra Matthew Levin opened the ceremony, before a panel discussion on the Spanish-Canadian business relationship, moderated by Vasileios Tsianos, Chair of the Canada Observatory and Senior Management Consultant at StrategyCorp. Nicolas Mazzoli, Managing Director of the Royal Bank of Canada in Spain, Javier Hinojal, Head of Business Development and Communications at Bombardier Iberia and Marc Lionel Gagnon, Partner at CAFA Investment Banking, took part as speakers.

Levin started by referring to the need to continue strengthening the bilateral relationship between Spain and Canada as a main priority. “We have a new trade agreement, we have a very good relationship both in investment and exports.”, he said. “We are very optimistic about potential opportunities. Before the trade agreement was in place there was year to year growth but since we implemented the agreement two years ago we have seen dramatic increases in trade, investment… I would expect that the volume of our trade can easily double in the next 5 to 10 years.”

Chair Vasileios Tsianos thanked Manuel Muñiz, Dean of IE School of Global and Public Affairs, and Waya Quiviger, Executive Director at IE Transatlantic Relations Initiative, and explained that he chose IE School of Global and Public Affairs for this initiative because of its practical approach to education, the influential partnerships it has with industry and government and the intellectual footprint of the school.

“The objective of the Canada Observatory is to truly use academia and the school as a conduit to bringing together the private and public sector.”

“The objective of the Canada Observatory is to truly use academia and the school as a conduit to bringing together the private and public sector”, he pointed out. “And viewing it from both an intellectual and academic perspective but also trying to see the practical opportunities for strengthening the commercial relationship between Canada and Spain and at a broader level how that adds to the relationship between the EU and North America.”

The majority of Spanish exports and business interests in Canada are in highly regulated industries, such as Infrastructure Development and Construction (PPPs), Aerospace and Defense, petroleum products, and banking.

Business interests in these industries tend to be exposed to political landscape shifts, either because of regulatory changes or because of the federal government’s priority for infrastructure spending, developing the oil sands in Alberta and British Columbia, or defense procurement.

Marc Lionel Gagnon insisted on the need to increase cooperation between public and private sectors. “Both can work together and it is very important that they give the same message and do not confuse the investors.”

Politics and public policy are increasing in importance and have a very high impact in the PPP and infrastructure space, agreed Nicolas Mazzoli, Managing Director of the Royal Bank of Canada in Spain.

“The biggest transactions are driven by infrastructure, even if you have Canadians investing in all kinds of sectors. Everything to do with infrastructure, from transport to utilities to renewables, is going to attract the largest amount of capital”, he said.

On the other hand, Canada has become one of the most attractive markets for Spanish agri-food companies. “I see some movement in the aerospace industry, we see a big growth in the last 4 or 5 years but also in agri-food sector. The exports in Spain and Europe, in general, are pretty strong. This is one sector that we will growth soon”, Marc Lionel Gagnon anticipated.

Finally, Javier Hinojal referred to the remarkable presence that his Bombardier has in every local, regional administration in Spain. He also mentioned that Canadian multinationals are usually perceived as “neutral, maybe even as a friend” in Spain and Europe. “Multinationals are important: we share knowledge”, he asserted.

The Transatlantic Initiative is made up of academics, researchers, politicians, and experts dedicated to strengthening the ties between Europe and the rest of the world.