Innovative companies are particularly welcome in Andorra, says Pilar Escaler, Director of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Andorra

Innovative companies are particularly welcome in Andorra, says Pilar Escaler, Director of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Andorra

On June 19, Andorra will host a presentation of the airport construction project which is said to be built on the territory of the Principality. The event was initiated by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Andorra (Cambra de Comerç, Indústria i Serveis, CCIS). On the eve of this event, the director of the CCIS, Pilar Escaler, told how promising this project is and shared her thoughts on what business is most welcome in Andorra today.

Interview by: Irina Rybalchenko

It is obvious that for Andorra’s future development, the growth of its economy, increasing the number of tourists, as well as to ensure transport security in the country, the airport must be built. However, this issue has not yet been resolved. Do you know the position of the new government regarding this project?

There has been no clear official position from the new government on this issue yet. At the moment, the company NavBleu, (a subsidiary of Airbus) conducted a study that answered a fundamentally important question: is it possible to build a normal airport in Andorra or not? The answer was positive. Obviously, the first stage of the study was done in consultation with the government. It is expected that the government will announce its position during the presentation on June 19. We very much hope so.

In order to compete with other countries in the international market, Andorra needs to solve its main logistical problem of how to get to the country quickly. The study is just the beginning, the first step. A number of additional studies are required too but Andorra would be interested in cooperation at this stage with the world leaders in the field of airport management.

We receive numerous letters from business readers who want to set up a company in Andorra and do business from Andorra with other countries, but were unable to do so because the banks refused to carry out international settlement operations. Could you comment on this?

My advice is the following: before starting the registration procedure to create a company in Andorra, especially in the field of trading, you first need to personally communicate with one of the Andorran banks in order to find out the complexity and feasibility of conducting your business. It is true that banks are not particularly interested in having these types of customers, but are ready to meet those with whom a bank has a trusting relationship. There is a worldwide fight against money laundering. Andorran banks are very strict with their compliance procedures. And we have no leverage over them because they are private banks.

What can you say about the general trend of investment activity in Andorra? Is the volume of investment increasing or decreasing?

Decreasing I would say. Nowadays, opening a company in Andorra has become much more difficult. However, this applies not only to Andorra. Another reason is the growing international competition. However, a major advantage of Andorra is that our fiscal reform is complete, the tax system is stable, no changes are expected in the coming years and this is very attractive for businesses. I can say the same about the political and economic systems of Andorra – they are also stable, which is very important for business.

What are the main types of business presented today in Andorra?

Andorra is a country of services, not of production. In Andorra, the financial sector is the most developed. In second place are services in the field of tourism and trade, and finally, the real estate sector.

Does Andorra make any of its own products on its territory?

I can give you some examples. The bicycles made by Commencal, two brands of local beer, and three brands of local wine.

What types of business are particularly welcome in Andorra today?

Those that contribute to the diversification of Andorra’s economy. These are enterprises in the field of innovation and new technologies, first of all. Andorra could be an excellent platform for research in the field of science and technology. In November, we are holding a “Day of digital transformation” and we invite all interested participants to join. One of the topics to be discussed is the development of artificial intelligence.

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