Freixenet, an emblematic Catalonian business, is set to move out. | Efe

Antonio Garamendi, the president of the Spanish Confederation of Business Organisations (CEOE), appealed yesterday for "sanity" in not boycotting Catalonia products. Were there to be a boycott by consumers committed to Spanish unity, this would be "bad news" for Catalonia and for Spain.

His words echo those of José Luis Bonet, the president of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce and also president of one of the most famous producers of cava, the Barcelona-based Freixenet. He has acknowledged that there are reactions which are harming the sale of cava and of Catalonian wines, products that are "emblematic".

Bonet is to propose to the Freixenet board that the company moves its registered office out of Catalonia. He says that he took "great personal satisfaction" in the massive rally in favour of Spanish unity that took place in Barcelona on Sunday. To Bonet it is logical that companies will want to leave Catalonia. In the event that independence is declared, "leaving the European Union would be a catastrophe". Asked yesterday if he thought that there will be a declaration of independence, he said that he couldn't rule out "any kind of stupidity".

The CEOE notes that smaller companies are likely to follow the lead of larger businesses. They will move from Catalonia out of responsibility but with "great sadness". "Once the big companies pave the way, the small ones will follow." Garamendi explains that an independent Catalonia would fall outside European rules, would incur tariffs and have major market problems. Bilateral relations, he believes, would be "almost impossible".

Catalonia, the CEOE president stresses, currently has sales worth 46 billion euros in Spain, 37 billion in Europe and 22 billion in the rest of the world. "Catalonia sells much more to Aragon than to France, more to Murcia than to China and a similar amount or more to Cantabria than the United States."