Day 13: US Embassy Madrid

On our last full day in Spain, ALP17 visited the US Embassy in Madrid. We were met again by our FAS attaché, Rachel Bickford, who provided us with an overview of Spain’s Agricultural production. Spain’s unique climate and geography position it as a the fruit and vegetable basket for much of Europe. It has also continued to invest heavily in it’s commercial pork production and is a world power in pork exports.

Following Rachel, Marta Guerrero described the governmental support systems for agriculture in Spain. Generally, agriculture commodities in Spain receive subsidies depending on whether they are competitive in the global market or not. Pork, fruit and vegetables are generally less supported, while less competitive crops like cereals and rice are more. Payment structures have evolved over time, but the current program focuses on historical land use and per hectare payments.

We then heard from a pair of diplomatic staff members at the embassy. Christopher Quade is in charge of cultural affairs, Denise Chen is the Deputy Political officer. Their focus is on advancing United States’ interest in Spain. They shared some of the nuances of being a diplomat in a foreign country and what some of the United States’ priorities are regarding the United States relationship with Spain.

We closed the visit with Frank Talluto an economic officer at the embassy focusing on science, technology, and the environment. He gave us valuable insights on the Spanish economic recovery following the crisis of the 2000s, the consumer banking system and how Spanish schedules do and do not mesh with the rest of Europe’s and the world’s.

After great discussion, we had lunch at a historic Madrid restaurant, Los Galayos, where we toasted to our US embassy hosts and bid our tour guide Eduardo adios!