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20/05/2016

'A carton of the same milk can't cost twice as much in Biarritz than in San Sebastian'

WikiSpanishFood.com interview FIAB's Director of Internationalization, Jaime Palafox

WikiSpanishFood.com.- How important are Spanish foods in terms of European Union exports as a whole?

J. P.- Spanish agri-food products are a fundamental pillar of European exports. We are the fourth-largest exporter in the EU. There has been an upward trend in the last few years with growth outstripping that of our rivals. As a result, Spain is playing an increasingly important role, and there is still notable scope for growth in the future. The best is yet to come.

WikiSpanishFood.- What does participating in fairs like the PLMA mean for Spanish food companies?

J. P.- It helps strengthen their leading position in global markets, which they have worked tirelessly to achieve over the years, and specifically in the case of the PLMA, in European supermarkets. Of course, the notable presence of companies reflects the strength of the Spanish food industry.

WikiSpanishFood- How does FIAB help Spanish companies present themselves outside Spain?

J. P.- As part of the internationalization plan implemented by FIAB with the support of ICEX and Spain's Ministry of Agriculture, Food and the Environment, there is a far-reaching program that includes attending fairs and other activities such as meeting with buyers, promotions at points-of-sale, and courses and seminars. We try to adapt our efforts to the needs of our members, which are increasing in number and are more diverse by the day.

WikiSpanishFood- How can we add value to our foods and beverages outside Spain?

J. P.- That is a fundamental aspect of the internationalization strategy.At FIAB, we believe it's vital to defend and raise the profile of Spanish food products internationally. If you look at the average prices of the exports of our main products, they are lower than our competitors' and the situation is unsustainable. Our products are too cheap. Manufacturers, the government and Spanish supermarket chains need to work together raise the profile of our products. A carton of the same milk can't be sold for twice as much in Biarritz than in San Sebastian, while Spain has one of the highest indices in spending on smartphone and mobile telephony in Europe, because we're seeing a transfer of income from strong national sectors and scope for growth in others, where a large number of operators are multinationals with foreign capital.

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