President of the Government Visits the U.S.
9/26/2017
The trip by the President of the Government to Washington, D.C. will provide an opportunity for the first bilateral meeting with President Donald Trump. The two leaders previously met at the special NATO meeting in Brussels in May and at the G-20 Summit in Hamburg in July.

The President of the Government of Spain has also spoken by telephone with President Trump on three occasions: after his election victory in November 2016; and in February and August 2017. The purpose of the last conversation was to offer condolences following the attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils.

The visit will include a meeting in the Oval Office alone, followed by a working lunch with their delegations based around an agenda focused on bilateral and international issues. Finally, a joint press conference will be given outside the White House, in the Rose Garden.

This is the first bilateral visit to Washington by President of the Government, Mariano Rajoy, since January 2014. At that time, Spain was taking its first steps along a path of recovery from a serious recession. Now, the Spanish economy is growing at rates above 3% a year, leading to a substantial change in the country's image.

The Spanish Government brings a number of positive assets to bilateral relations between Spain and the United States:

  • A government with parliamentary stability within a framework of economic growth.
  • Balanced trade and investment relations. The United States is the leading destination for Spanish exports outside of the European Union, the sixth-largest destination worldwide and the fifth-largest supplier of goods. The volume of bilateral trade has gradually increased in recent years to 24.34 billion euros in 2016. Spain has traditionally posted a trade deficit with the United States, which rose by 17.7% to 1.69 billion euros in 2016.
  • Strong investment by Spanish companies in the United States, with the resulting job creation at a local level. In 2015, the United States was the second-largest destination for Spanish investment, totalling a stock of 60.26 billion euros. In the other direction, the United States is the leading investor in Spain with a stock of 50.05 billion euros in 2015. Spanish businesses are highly active in the United States, especially in the transport and energy infrastructure sector; mainly renewable energies, where Spanish companies continue to create new opportunities. Spanish investment is highly concentrated in the financial sector, although it also includes other sectors such as energy, food and the real estate sector.
  • A bilateral defence relationship, in addition to a relationship maintained between the two countries as members of NATO that is highly valued in Washington. Furthermore, the Spanish bases in Rota and Morón - use of which has been transferred to the United States - have gained strategic importance for the United States. This was demonstrated by a visit by Barack Obama to Rota in 2016, the first such visit by a US President.
  • Broad agreement on counter-terrorism policy, with extremely close cooperation in various areas and recent solidarity from President Trump following the attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils.
  • A major role in certain conflicts and crisis situations of great importance to the United States. This includes Spanish involvement in the Coalition against DAESH, leadership in Europe in managing the political crisis in Venezuela and the North Korean issue, a priority issue for this administration.
  • Spain's position at the heart of the European Union.

In conclusion, the right conditions prevail for a highly positive first meeting between President Rajoy and President Trump. The image of Spain and its government have improved in Washington as the economic recovery continues. Bilateral relations that include numerous assets are highly positive at this time. The meeting at the White House on September 26th ​should further strengthen mutual trust and consolidate Spain's position as an ally of the U.S. administration.

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