FZW talks to Mr Fernando Cámara del Castillo about the future of Spain’s free zones and the reasons behind their present expansion 

What is the importance of the new Santander Free Zone for the region’s economic development?

So far, the main contribution is that we already have the concession to create the Free Zone, which allows us to maintain the Free Deposit of Santander operating and opens a number of new possibilities for the future. If we are capable of unifying efforts, between the different public administrations involved, to put forward a vast project, the ability to contribute toward the economic development of Cantabria is immense. Particularly, I believe we must be generous when it comes to the effort and the resources that we bring in, as we could achieve a considerable feedback in both wealth and employment.

How can Free Zones contribute to solving Spain’s unemployment problems?

The Free Zones that already exist, are already creating employment, and the ones being created now can do the same fairly quickly. In a context of such considerable increase in international commerce, they can be clear instruments of employment and wealth generation.

How do you see the conclusion of the project to create a Free Zone in Sevilla and the controversy with the Cadiz Free Zone?

In my modest opinion, the Sevilla Free Zone has a future to conquer, which will depend on its management capabilities and the commitment of the authorities involved. I have never understood the controversy with the Cadiz Free Zone [Editor’s note: Cadiz Free Zone’s management previously spoke out against the construction of Sevilla Free Zone, citing unhealthy competition. They have since dropped their concerns.]. For me, they are totally compatible and, I would even say, complementary.

What is behind this new wave of projects for free zones in Spain?

In a time of crisis, it is normal to look at what works. The public authorities are not oblivious to the need to create employment in Spain, in fact, they are very much the opposite, and they see in the Free Zones the possibility to do just that. That said, one must move with caution and have a reasonable strategy, sustainable and long-term, at the time of implementing new concessions.

What strategies can be followed to potentiate the benefits of the Free Zones for Spain’s economic development in the future?

We must have a common strategy between the different Free Zones in Spain, as even though we have structural differences, we share the same commitment. The future will be in the search for international connections, innovative projects and to take advantage of our strategic geographic location. We are a connection point between Europe, Asia and America.