Crown prince hails rising Spanish investment in U.S.

Miami, Nov 19 (EFE).- Spain's Crown Prince Felipe welcomed Spanish companies' increasing investment in the United States, especially in Florida, where the future monarch glimpses "some magnificent opportunities."

The prince and his wife, Princess Letizia, presided Monday night over a gala dinner at Miami's Freedom Tower.

Some 500 guests paid anywhere from $500-$25,000 to attend, with the proceeds going to the Spain-Florida 500 Year Foundation, which is organizing celebrations of the quincentennial of Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon's landing in Florida.

Business leaders, cultural figures and politicians, including Florida Gov. Rick Scott, listened as Prince Felipe drew a connection between Spain's historical legacy in the Sunshine State and contemporary economic realities.

The United States is a "strategic market for Spain," the prince said, citing a steady rise in Spanish corporate investment in the world's largest economy.

More than 350 Spanish firms have operations in Florida - investing $6.5 billion in all - and those numbers are sure to increase, the crown prince said.

Spain's companies have acquired an international reputation for being "innovative, serious and responsible," Felipe said, forecasting an intensification of Spanish investment in the United States and U.S. investment in the Iberian nation.

On behalf of the Spain-Florida 500 Year Foundation, the prince bestowed the first Juan Ponce De Leon 500th Anniversary Award to Miami Dade College President Eduard Padron, honored for his contribution to preserving the Spanish heritage in Florida and throughout the United States.

Prince Felipe was presented earlier Monday with the keys to the city by Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado and the royal couple later visited the headquarters of U.S. Spanish-language media giant Univision.