March 20th, 2009
04:03 PM ET

Foreign country set to profit from US stimulus plan

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/20/art.vert.spain.royalty.jpg caption="Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia of Spain arrive at The New York Public Library earlier this week." width=292 height=320]

David Puente
AC360° Producer

This week I got an unusually swank invite. Spain's Crown Prince Felipe and his wife Princess Letizia were in New York hosting a lunch reception to promote Spanish green companies. That’s a big part of your job if you’re a Spanish blue blood nowadays. You’re expected to help generate new business for your countrymen. And from the looks of it, this royal couple believes that the U.S. economic stimulus plan can mean big bucks for Spain. I can see what they mean.

It was after all President Obama who singled out Spain for its sustainable growth projects like the ones that the US badly needs to develop. Spain is a world leader in renewable energy, water management, and high speed railways. I love that AVE, and you know why if you’ve taken it to get from Madrid to Seville or Barcelona.

During the lunch at the Metropolitan Club the Prince proved how good he is at pushing the “Made In Spain” brand.

Felipe and Letizia also presided over a two-day business program in Manhattan which Vice President Al Gore attended. He praised the Spanish firms in the clean energy sector. A field in which, he said, Spain has a lot to teach the US.

Paul Krugman recently wrote that “Spain was Europe’s Florida, its economy buoyed by a huge speculative housing boom…” But can the country’s green energy and modern infrastructure projects save it from feeling the housing bust as bad as Florida? Will U.S. stimulus dollars end up feeding projects that help Spain? Will they also benefit the U.S.?

Throughout Europe, and Spain is no exception, unemployment has soared and the construction sector has been hit hard. This recession gives the Spanish Crown Prince even more reason to push his country’s firms overseas. But in the end, the question is, who will benefit?

Filed under: David Puente • Economy • Global 360°
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Annie Kate

    A good deal will benefit both us and Spain. We need the technology and they need business. In teaching us the technology, Spain will be passing along core skills that we can use on new jobs as well as alternative renewable energy sources so we do not impact our environment as negatively as we do now.

    March 20, 2009 at 9:22 pm |
  2. Mike

    You're right. Stimulus dollars should only go to purchase materials made in the US. ... Oh, wait. We don't make as many things as we used to anymore, not by a long shot. If you need to purchase equipment and technology for clean energy, chances are that you're going to need to import it. Sure, there are a few fledgling American companies in the field, but none with the breadth and capacity needed to implement the short-term projects needed for a stimulus. Over time, we can build a more energy independent America using American technology, but that will take years and many investment dollars. In the mean time, we will need to look to Spain and others worldwide.

    March 20, 2009 at 6:38 pm |