© Reuters. Xiana Méndez: London must make the labor market more flexible to be competitive
London, Nov 10 (.) .- The Secretary of State for Commerce of the Spanish Government, Xiana Méndez, affirmed this Wednesday in London that “a rethinking” would be needed by the British Executive to “make the labor market and the policy of immigration “in order to be” competitive. ”
Méndez participated in the presentation ceremony of the III Barometer on Climate and Perspectives of Spanish Investment, prepared by the Chamber of Commerce of Spain in the United Kingdom, which concludes that this country maintains its position as a “strategic market” for Spanish investment in abroad despite Brexit and the pandemic.
According to their data, during 2019-20, 54% of Spanish companies investing in this country perceive an “acceptable” or “good” business climate, following the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union (EU).
However, their perception of the job market has deteriorated, and a quarter of the firms surveyed declared that they could not find the talent they need, among other results.
Speaking to the media, Méndez said today that the barometer is “especially positive” after having lived through “troubled times.”
“To Brexit and the new framework with the Free Trade Agreement that came into force at the beginning of the year is added the pandemic and the post-pandemic situation; fundamentally (there are) still many mobility restrictions,” observed the Secretary of State for Commerce.
SPANISH EXPORT TO THE UNITED KINGDOM, AT MAXIMUM HISTORICAL
As for Spanish exports to the British market, they are at an all-time high in the first eight months, and “almost reach pre-pandemic levels”, while the outlook for the remainder of the year is “optimistic”, according to the source.
There are also risk factors such as “a certain collapse of maritime transport and an adjustment between supply and demand that will reduce export potential,” he said.
Companies “clearly” are making an effort to “regain normalcy, to see opportunities where there are many challenges and they appreciate the certainty that having a framework such as the Free Trade Agreement gives them after so many years of uncertainty,” said Méndez.
Regarding the obstacles derived from Brexit, such as the aforementioned problem of mobility and human capital, it is a “political decision” that obeys the will of the Government of Boris Johnson to “change the rules of the game as regards to immigration, to visas and mobility and to attracting human capital “, he opined.
“To be competitive, you have to bring in human capital, you have to bring in human talent and, therefore, closing in that sense is negative for the competitiveness of an economy and for the productivity of the British market itself,” Méndez said in a message to the Executive by Johnson.
The Spanish Government will seek, as far as possible, he said, “more agile procedures” in order to tackle specific problems of qualified workers in certain sectors.
Méndez believes that “a rethinking of the British government would be necessary to make the labor market and immigration policy more flexible in general.”
2022, A YEAR OF TAKE-OFF OF THE FOREIGN SECTOR
Looking ahead, the forecast for 2022 is that “it will be a year of take-off for the foreign sector, probably in the second half we will see it very clearly” and that any “friction” will be “temporary”.
Regarding the current dispute between the United Kingdom and the EU over the Northern Irish protocol and the possibility that London ends up activating Article 16 -which would unilaterally suspend parts of the agreed Agreement-, Spanish politics believed that “all efforts should be made to that this agreement works and fulfill the agreed commitments “.
The president of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in the United Kingdom, Eduardo Barrachina, said that the aforementioned problem that companies have in finding talent in this country represents a “giant challenge” that must be addressed.
Barrachina also highlighted that the United Kingdom is “a unique investment destination” and that, “when Spanish companies think of investment abroad, they think, first, of the United Kingdom.”