The King of Spain HM King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia concluded their visit to Australia last week at the Australia-Spain Business Forum. Their first official visit in more than two decades was designed to boost Spain's profile in the Asia-Pacific region. Parliamentary Secretary for Trade Anthony Byrne said the visit indicated the strengthening trade and investment ties between Australia and Spain, particularly in the clean energy sector. "Both Australia and Spain place great emphasis on the need for developing clean, renewable energy technologies, such as wind or solar power," he said. "The visit by their Majesties King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia is a welcome one, underpinning an already strong relationship, and providing renewed focus on a relationship in which common challenges can be overcome through collaborative efforts." The king noted similarities between Australia and Spain. He addressed the forum through an interpreter: "Both countries have an economy which is becoming increasingly knowledge-based, a highly qualified workforce, flexible and competitive markets and a very liberalised foreign trade regime." He added: "In the context of a global world, these shared features enable us to develop a fertile and profitable bilateral relationship in terms of commerce and bilateral investments." Bilateral investment also rose in the last year, with Spain investing $6.6 billion in Australia, and Australia investing $4.1 billion in Spain. During their visit, the king and queen also opened the Cervantes Institute in Sydney, Australia's first Spanish cultural centre.