On Wednesday, June 20, IESE Business School’s New York Center hosted the Global Business Colloquium, chaired by Spain’s Prince and Princess of Asturias. Moderated by Susie Gharib, anchor of the most watched daily business program in American television, PBS’ Nightly Business Report, the panel members included Loews Corp. CEO James S. Tisch, veteran Wall Street financier and New York Times, MSNBC, and Financial Times contributor Steven Rattner, and president and CEO of GE Africa, Jay Ireland.
Dr. William F. Baker, president emeritus of New York’s PBS station (WNET) and IESE professor, presided as the master of ceremonies. The shorter discussion was followed by a response from Spain’s Secretary of State for Commerce, Jaime Garcia-Legaz, as well as an address by Prince Felipe.
Gharib introduced the colloquium’s subject, the prospects of the global economy in the near future, by asking the three American panel members whether they were more or less hopeful about the condition of the economy in Europe and the European Union. The preponderant tenor of the responses from Tisch, Rattner and Ireland was one of shaky confidence in the EU’s short-term potential to recover: EU countries can either keep spending and consequently continue to threaten sovereign credit ratings, thereby losing access to critical markets, or reinforce austerity measures and deepen their recession.
But Tisch was quick to point out that, though Europe (and Spain in particular) is certainly in extremely worrying economic circumstances, America is as well. And to that end, that both countries do enjoy a fundamental, core potential for long-term economic growth should not be forgotten in the discussion. To this, and other concerns, Secretary of State for Commerce Jaime Garcia-Legaz directed his remarks.
Despite the critical economic condition Spain finds itself in, as well as the bleak speculation of the panel members, the Secretary was optimistic. He defended the legitimacy of the EU’s institution and expressed strong confidence in its continued survival. What’s more, Garcia-Legaz said that he is convinced that the austerity measures and reforms Spain has implemented will ensure a revaluing of their economy within the current monetary union.
But Garcia-Legaz also reminded the panel members and colloquium guests, which numbered over 200 business leaders and executives, that the transatlantic relationship between the US and Europe, and Spain particularly, is critically important for its success. In fact, he identified this relationship as the greatest economic block in the world. If the two continents could establish increasing and consistent transactions by eliminating transatlantic duties and implementing more-reasonable regulation, both the US and the EU would be helped on their way to economic stability. He concluded his remarks by citing a 6 percent increase in Spain’s global market competiveness, before introducing Prince Felipe.
The colloquium at IESE’s New York Center marked the beginning of Prince and Princess Letizia’s visit to the U.S.
Prince Felipe thanked the business school for welcoming them, noting the significant contribution the school has made to the quality and ethical caliber of business worldwide. The Prince focused his remarks primarily on the relationship between the US and the EU, and in particular, the potential for a closer relationship between the US and Spain.
The US is Spain’s largest economic and trading partner outside of the EU, he noted. And because of the significant presence of Spanish companies in the US, as well as the increasing use of the Spanish language internationally, the relationship between Spain and the US has never been more important. Because of this strong relationship, he is confident in and looks forward to the economic recovery and stability of both, he said.