Investment by Spanish companies in the United States has more than tripled since 2006 to $50 billion, Washington's envoy to Spain said here Thursday.

Ambassador Alan D. Solomont also took the opportunity to express confidence that Spain will overcome its current economic difficulties as he addressed a conference in Santiago de Compostela on business opportunities in the United States.

"I remain optimistic regarding the Spanish capacity to successfully surmount the crisis," the diplomat told people at the event, which was organized by the Galician regional business confederation.

Supporting the development of business and professional links between the two nations is a priority for the U.S. Embassy in Spain, he said.

The United States has become the No. 3 destination of Spanish foreign direct investment.

A favorable business climate and the sheer size of the U.S. market "are two important reasons" for the increase that has made the Spain the 11th-largest foreign investor in the United States, Solomont said.

The ambassador said he wrote to all 50 U.S. state governors a year ago urging them to actively court investment by Spanish firms. EFE