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COUNTRY PROFILEIssue 8 | 2011 www.48exhibition-world.net26.7 per cent in China so it's understandable MD of Fira de Barcelona, Agustín Cordón, would go looking for a slice of this market. In addition Fira de Barcelona's Hostelco will have its own pavilion at HDD Shanghai, aimed at equipment suppliers for the hospitality sector, following an agreement reached with organiser UBM Sinoexpo.Barcelona is also organising its own shows in Latin America, channelling Fira exhibitors into foreign events and selling services, technology, management and advice to other organisers and exhibition centres.Although Barcelona has developed a dynamic service sector connected to the tourism industry - it is home to Reed's EIBTM business travel and events show - one of the strongest pillars of its economy continues to be the industrial sector. Barcelona is a prominent actor in chemical, electronics, logistics, motor, printing, textile, telecommunications and information technology service industries. The greater Catalan region is with good reason the richest of Spain's 17 semi-autonomous regions.Pere Camprubí, director of expansion at Fira de Barcelona, explains that regardless of demand, the venue and organiser still needs government assistance."By supporting us, the Government is supporting the industry. Amid the current economic crisis, which often implies a weak internal demand, Spanish companies need to go abroad," he says. "What in the bonanza years was just advisable is now a must. And that is what we are trying to do: help medium and small companies to reach new markets."Sailing Spain out of the choppy watersGoing abroad certainly seems to be the order of the day. The Spanish professor of economics and La Caixa bank chair of corporate social responsibility and corporate governance Antonio Argandoña, paints a sobering, if poetic, picture of his beleaguered European country for EW."When we discovered the hole at the bottom of the ship we fl ed the water until we reached the deck. But still the water is coming in. And we have nowhere left to go. The private sector has recognised the situation and adapted, but alas the public sector has not."But there's no escaping the facts. Soaring national debt, a 21 per cent unemployment rate and a nationwide reluctance to spend manifests in economic adversity the likes of which Spain hasn't seen in years. It's enough to send a shiver down the spine of any investors, not least its fellow Eurozone nations such as France and Germany.SMART CITY: GREEN REIGNS IN SPAINFira de Barcelona hopes to trade on the city's green credentials with Smart City, a new event celebrating green civic development and sustainable infrastructure solutions. EW grabbed fi ve minutes with event director Luis Gomez."Green and sustainability sectors are fi lled with innovation, however, green credentials in infrastructure development are now obligatory. "It's important for Europe to keep up with innovation. Ministries and major companies have altered their programmes to accommodate green issues and unlike places such as France, which uses the most nuclear energy in Europe, Spain is dependent on new energy solutions. "This event follows on the back of a new association, which began life as a lobbying group and rose to become the Smart City Global Association. "The European Commission put ?260m into picking several cities that can lead by example and Barcelona is one of them."Of course things won't happen in a day but hopefully we can begin the discussion with Smart City."Smart City takes place 29 November to 2 DecemberLeft:Visitors at BieMH machine tool exhibitionBelow:A busy day at the Bilbao Exhibition Centre