The world is your oyster could be a term coined for international trade in our region although with the Brexit situation it is maybe more like the curate’s egg, good in parts.
We have a tremendous global exporting tradition in the North East and I’m extremely proud to work at the heart of it, leading the Chamber’s international trade team.
As many of you will know we were established to combine resources over 200 years ago and growing trade across the globe was, and remains to be, one of the Chamber’s key aims and aspirations. Back in those days Chamber members even enabling obstructions to be removed from the Tyne, to allow ships to be loaded for export.
Today we are a vital hub of exporting activity around the world. Indeed, as you read this, I will have just completed a trade mission to Atlanta with a number of regional tech companies, looking for new marketplaces.
In Atlanta we ensured our delegates utilised the strong foundation already in place, with great North East-based businesses such as Sage plc and Womble Bond Dickinson, having US headquarters there. These two major companies have been hugely supportive of our mission.
On the trip the businesses were given guidance on Atlanta politics and US politics as a whole, which are not always as they seem from ‘across the pond’. There were also briefings on the state as a marketplace, emerging markets and the local economy.
Despite having no language barrier doing business in America is different to here so we also ensured our delegates learnt the most effective way to make useful connections by working with partners, such as the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, the British American Business Council and the Atlanta-based teams of Womble Bond Dickinson and Sage plc and the Department for International Trade.
We tailored this trade mission towards the tech sector and were fortunate enough to get a detailed briefing on US tech trends led by Sage’s chief marketing officer together with other specialist talks by leaders in the tech clusters in Atlanta, Protection of Data, Artificial Intelligence and Financial Services sectors.