KING Felipe VI visited Castellon city yesterday (Thursday May 7) to show his support for Valencian business and for the provincial ceramic trade in particular.

Landing at Castellon-Costa Azahar airport, the monarch was welcomed by the Minister for Industry Reyes Maroto, Valencia regional President Ximo Puig, Castellon Mayoress Amparo Marco and Spanish Business Confederation president Antonio Garamendi, among other dignitaries.

The reason for the royal visit was to take part in the yearly assembly of the Valencian Community Business Confederation, which King Felipe closed with a speech peppered with sentences in the Valencian language and references to the area.

He also recalled his previous visit to Castellon, which took place in 2017 for the 50th anniversary celebrations of the BP refinery platform.

All leading regional, provincial and local business sectors were present, with up to 300 top trade representatives crowding into the Paranimf conference hall of the Universitat Jaume I (UJI) in lower numbers than usual due to COVID restrictions.

King Felipe (right) meets Valencian President Ximo Puig
King Felipe (right) meets Valencian President Ximo Puig

Ceramic tiles, the leading activity in the province and particularly in the city of Villareal and its surroundings, took a front seat at the event with the king praising the sector as being ‘the most competitive on the international stage’ and ‘a source of pride for the province’.

Felipe VI also highlighted the fact that the Valencia region is always top of the list for exports in Spain, with companies registering profits above €5 billion over the first four months of the year – far higher than the national average and among the best in Europe.  

He also congratulated the UJI on the university’s 30th birthday, underlining the importance of ‘public and private innovation’ to continue growing at such a difficult time.   

Business representatives praised the region’s global response to the coronavirus crisis, describing Valencia as ‘an example to follow’ for the rest of the country.

Speakers in particular pointed out the solidarity among companies to manufacture sanitary equipment at the height of the pandemic, and the close negotiations between the Generalitat, businesses and trade unions to find the best solutions for all parties.  

Regional president Ximo Puig summarised the Valencian recipe for success as ‘serenity, agreements and solutions’.

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