Wednesday, 13 February 2013

European Trade Conference in Newcastle today

Representatives of over a dozen European countries have come together at the Marriot Hotel in Newcastle today for an all day conference that seeks to build up cross country relationships and ensure
- shared best practice for business / exporters from different European countries
- helps business investment to countries that the North East can export to
- provides a positive platform and a platform for positive investment in the North East by overseas businesses.
Last night I was a guest at the dinner that took place the night before. Each country took a table hosted by honorary consuls. It is fair to say that the French were out in force, but there were representatives from over a dozen countries from Finland to Italy and Germany. I was a guest on the Swedish table and met many of the trade and business reps based both here and in Sweden.
One of the North East's biggest employers is SCA in  Prudhoe, a Swedish company, and I am keen to harness the goodwill and traditional links to ensure that our renewable businesses, engineers and healthcare specialist can export their goods, whilst we welcome the overseas companies who see the North East as the place to invest / export. We are also looking at what we can learn - the ideas behind remote automated fuel stations and the oil buying groups came originally from Scandanavia. Big respect to the amazing Caroline Theobald, who does a great job as the honorary Swedish consul.