The Canary Islands companies unite before the green tax: "Either the islands are exempted or we are dead"

The Canary Islands companies unite before the green tax: "Either the islands are exempted or we are dead"

Ignacio Medina Alonso, managing partner of Deloitte in the Canary Islands, with the six speakers. On the right, Deloitte legal partner Jorge Gutiérrez. / C7

APD and Deloitte breakfast-discussion: Promoting business

Binter, Astican, Lopesan, Grupo Martínez and Acosta Matos call for unity "to fight" and ensure that flights between Europe and the archipelago are excluded from the new tax on aircraft emissions. Destinations from third countries such as Egypt, Turkey or Mexico are not affected

Silvia Fernandez

Five of the largest companies in the Canary Islands, specialized in different economic sectors, advocated yesterday for the union of the entire archipelago to demand in Europe that the exceptionality of the green tax be applied to the islands, as an outermost region. A tax that will be implemented on carbon dioxide emissions in air and maritime transport on routes between the Canary Islands and the rest of the European destination - inter-island flights and with the peninsula are excluded -, with the consequent negative effect on tourism.

Binter Canarias, Astican, Lopesan, the Martínez Group, Acosta Matos and the employer expressed yesterday during a breakfast-discussion organized by the Association for the Progress of Management (APD) in collaboration with Deloitte the "need" for this exemption which will not affect flights from Europe to third-party destinations, such as Egypt, Turkey or Mexico, among others. The rate on the islands will subtract "competitive advantage" compared to other destinations.

The president of
Binter, Rodolfo Núñezindicated that, regardless of the increase that it may suppose in a tourist ticket - "be it 10 or 100 euros", he said -
We must defend the singularity of the Canary Islands "by philosophy". "The Canary Islands have elements to avoid this and we all have to unite to achieve it, although it is difficult," said Núñez.

Both he and the president of
Astican, German Suarez, They stressed that companies are doing everything possible to move towards decarbonization and reducing emissions but the problem is that the technology or, in the case of ships, the best fuel has not yet been defined. «MSC is committed to LNG but Maersk advocates methanol while others talk about hydrogen or ammonia. It is not clear yet," said Suárez, for whom
the European authorities "are building the house by the roof and are taking the wrong shots". At this point, Núñez stressed that with more taxes it will not be possible for companies to make a greater effort than they are making.

The general director of the Hotel Division of
Lopesan, Joseph Ignatius Dawnwarned yesterday that, «
Either the singularity of the Canary Islands and the structural dependence of the archipelago on the travel sector are understood or we are dead». “We are shooting ourselves in the foot. We are four hours by plane from any European destination or we are going to go wrong. It's a competitive need," he said.

The CEO of Acosta Matos,
José Acosta Matos, put the emphasis in the Canary Islands on the problem of the lack of qualified personnel and the need to improve training. The president of the Canary Islands Confederation of Entrepreneurs (CCE),
Pedro Ortega also referred to this problem as well as high inflation, which according to Alba, "has spoiled the party", since it has eaten the margins of the companies.

the CEO of the Martínez group, José A. Martínez, referred to the problem of training and advocated that Canarian companies make the leap to Africawhich is going to grow “bestially” in the coming years.

2022, a good year for companies that will continue in 2023

The green tax is one of the dark clouds facing the Canary Islands economy that in
2022 has evolved very positively and it is expected to maintain the good results in 2023, as verified by the five companies that participated in the forum.

Astican, for example, closed the year 2022 with the best results in its history and it is expected that this year the good level will be maintained. High freight rates and the need for ship repairs to be carried out in the shortest possible time causes shipowners to opt for Las Palmas instead of going to other ports in the area that are cheaper but with worse performance and on-time compliance. "The opportunity cost of losing days is very high," said the president of Astican, Germán Suárez.

All of them coincided when pointing out the problem of inflation and that it threatens their margins.
"Inflation has spoiled the party"indicated Alba, who made it clear that, despite the popular belief that hoteliers "are making money" from the arrival of tourists, it must be taken into account that
costs eat away at your incomein addition to the losses accumulated in 2020 and 2021 and which, according to what he said, have not yet been recovered.

The lack of training, the difficulty in finding qualified labor and the challenges that Canarian companies face -with digitization and sustainability- are some of the clouds that are drawn in the sky of the productive fabric of the islands. In this sense, the president of the
Canarian Confederation of Entrepreneurs, Pedro Ortega, He warned that in the economy, as on a highway, there are curves that force us to be vigilant.

The event was presented by the president of the APD of the Canary Islands, Carmen García, and the discussion was moderated by the managing partner of Deloitte, Ignacio Medina, and the legal representative, Jorge Gutiérrez.