Monday, 14 May 2012

Meeting our Ambassadors to Sweden and Norway to discuss how we can bring business to the North East

With our ambassadors Jane Owen [Norway] and Paul Johnston [Sweden] in Portcullis House.
Tuesday of last week gave me the opportunity to meet Her Majesty's ambassadors to Sweden and Norway. Both are formidably bright and passionate about their jobs.
All our ambassadors attend London in the first week of May for a Leadership Conference, with a chance to brainstorm both together and with top officials / government. I took advantage of their proximity to set up a meeting to discuss how these 2 key countries can boost business in the North East. Our ambassadors and their staff are now being specifically instructed by the Coalition Government to be both the trade envoy and the shop window for all the great business opportunities that Britain both offers and provides. I was very pleased with our discussion and am sure we can work together to try and promote trade. Certainly this is something I am discussing with the North East Chamber of Commerce and local businesses in Northumberland. Indeed, in the North East our nearest neighbours, in so many ways, are the Scandinavian countries, as opposed to the French or Italians. We also stand a better prospect of getting investment into the North East and similar export of our goods to these countries, given that the Scandinavian economies are in a far better financial state than the core members of the Euro.

Sweden is also the home of SCA, which employs over 400 men and women in their fantastic factory in Prudhoe, so I was doubly keen to meet with our man in Sweden. There is huge scope for our exporters to go to these countries and I hope to lead, or be part of, a trade delegation to Scandinavia in the next year, if possible.