Spain and Washington kick off formal trade relationship

Commerce Director Lisa Brown leads state trade mission to Spain, culminating in signing memorandum of understanding to grow trade, business opportunities.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Commerce Director Lisa Brown and Maria Pena Mateos, chief executive officer of ICEX, the public agency attached to Spain’s Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, agreed to promote economic cooperation for the benefit of trade relations and boost opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses in Spain and Washington.

ICEX CEO and Commerce director sign memorandum of understanding in Spain

Spain signs it’s first-ever USA state trade memorandum of understanding, represented by Commerce Director Lisa Brown (left) and ICEX CEO Maria Pena.

The two officials signed the first memorandum of understanding (MOU) establishing a formal trade and economic cooperation relationship on March 1 in Madrid.

The agreement builds on a foundation of approximately $9 billion in trade activities currently taking place between Spain and the State of Washington. It acknowledges common strengths in aerospace, information and communication technology, cybersecurity, clean energy technology, life sciences, maritime, agriculture and other sectors, and formalizes plans to explore opportunities for Washington companies in the Spanish market and establish future opportunities for Spanish companies to create jobs in Washington.

“It’s my honor to enter into this agreement with ICEX,” said Commerce Director Brown. “During this brief trip we have been fortunate to experience some of the exciting collaborations already underway and to formalize our commitment to continue developing trade and business opportunities in the future.”

The MOU specifies several areas for collaboration, including:

Information exchange, promoting permanent flow of information concerning regulations and requirements to access their respective markets and exchange commercial and investment information.

Promotion of trade and investment through exchange activities, such as round tables, trade missions and tendering requests for information (RFIs).

Promotion of business opportunities and investment attraction through activities such as seminars, events and presentation of investment opportunities.

Technical information and cooperation, such as providing education and training, tools, programs and support for small and medium-sized businesses with export and investment potential.

In addition to signing the MOU, Director Brown and other Commerce officials, including Commerce assistant director Chris Green, ICT sector lead Dr. Joseph Williams and Gov. Inslee’s policy advisor Charles Knutson, met with Real Madrid Foundation. They discussed a collaboration between the Foundation, Microsoft and Central Washington University about Game On!, on a soccer and coding leadership camp for young people in Washington, many of whom are Spanish-speaking students.

The group also toured Iberdrola core wind energy operations center and participated in other activities in Toledo and Madrid. Prior to the state-to-state mission, Commerce hosted a delegation to MWC19 in Barcelona, one of the world’s largest technology trade shows, featuring 14 Washington information and communication technology companies.

Brown and her team finished the trip with a visit to the University of Washington Leon Center. Opened in 2010 and located in the 16th-century Renaissance tower of the Palacio del Conde Luna, the center is home to study-abroad programs, academic research, conferences and other events promoting educational exchange opportunities between Washington and Spain, particularly in technology, cybersecurity and bioscience.


Penny Thomas, Commerce Communications, 206-256-6106

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