· The President will also meet with leaders in the North Carolina State Government and Ministers Mas-Colell, Puig and Pelegrí will hold meetings in California while accompanying Catalan trade mission.
The President of the Generalitat, Artur Mas, will make an official visit today, June 17, to North Caroline, where he will inaugurate the Catalan multinational Grifols’s new plasma fractionation plant. Mr. Mas will also meet with the State Governor, Patrick McCrory, and the President of the State Senate, Phil Berger.
The President had intended to continue his official visit to the United States with a series of business events in California, where he also planned to personally represent Catalonia in establishing new institutional contacts in the field of research and higher education, but will instead be shortening his trip in order to attend the proclamation of the new King of Spain. Mr. Mas will return for the proclamation out of “institutional respect and good neighborliness,” and the California segment of his agenda will instead be carried out by the Minister of Economy and Knowledge, Andreu Mas-Colell; the Minister of Business and Enterprise, Felip Puig; and Minister of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Fisheries, Nutrition, and the Environment, Josep Maria Pelegrí.
A trade mission of Catalan businesses will also coincide with the Government of Catalonia’s official visit to the United States. The mission is comprised of twenty-seven tech firms working in the mobile app, gaming, Smart City, health and education fields, and ten other tourism-oriented businesses and organizations.
The mission from Catalonia will also be accompanied by the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and the European Union, Roger Albinyana, and the Delegate of the Government to the United States, Andrew Davis.
Grifols’s new plasma fractionation plant in Clayton, North Carolina is the largest of its type in the world, capable of fractionating up to six million liters of plasma per year. Grifols invested €260 million ($370 mil) in this new 155,000 square-foot facility as part of a global strategy to increase fractionation capacity to over 12 million liters annually between its three manufacturing centers by 2016. In addition to its production facility located outside of Barcelona and the new one in North Carolina, Grifols also operates a U.S. plant in Los Angeles, California.
Fractionation is the first step in the manufacturing process of medicines derived from plasma. The process consists of submitting plasma to various temperature changes and chemical conditions which causes the separation of the proteins which are used in life-saving medicines.
Official visit and trade mission to California
President Mas’s official visit to Massachusetts in 2012 sets a precedent for his official visit this week. Massachusetts, like California, is a state that exemplifies an economic model based in research, innovation, entrepreneurship, Transfer of Technology (TOT), and collaboration between businesses and universities. Mr. Mas’s official visit to Israel in late 2013 was made for the same reason. President Mas referred to the knowledge economies of Catalonia, California, Massachusetts and Israel during that trip as the “four motors of the world.”
With this week’s official visit, the Government of Catalonia seeks to strengthen its strategic alliances in the United States, particularly in the scientific and research fields, and to create permanent bridges in the USA-Israel-Catalonia triangle. Although California and Massachusetts continue to be the most relevant anchors for the Government’s strategic alliances in the United States, this visit includes new efforts in North Carolina, which has also demonstrated a successful transition to a world-class knowledge economy and is the ninth-largest state economy in the United States (2012).
In California, Minister Mas-Colell will represent the government in an official capacity. In addition to meeting with the President of the State Senate, Darrell Steinberg, and the President of the State Assembly, Toni Atkins, Mr. Mas-Colell will also speak to the State Senate in a plenary session. The official visit to California will also include the signing of several agreements in the university and research field, most notably with the California state university system.
Catalonia signed a sister state agreement with California in 1986, the first of any such agreement between Catalonia and a U.S. state. Since then, two agreements with other states have followed suit: Illinois (1990) and Massachusetts (1992, 2012). In addition, there are four sister city agreements between Catalan and U.S. cities: Barcelona and Boston, Massachusetts (1983); Barcelona and San Francisco, California (2010); Figueres and St. Petersburg, Florida (2011); and Mataró and Fort Lauderdale, Florida (2014).