5th November 2010 New York, USA

Pivotal Partners

Guest blog: Susan Haird, Deputy Chief Executive, UK Trade & Investment

I am delighted to be writing from New York, where at this time of year the city’s cultural and commercial calendars are humming. It is the latter that brings me here on this particular visit.  The US is by far the largest investor in the UK (and vice versa) and thus a pivotal partner in the UK’s effort to return its economy to sustainable growth. Now more than ever engagement is critical. As the Deputy Chief Executive of UK Trade & Investment, the UK Government department that supports businesses, the purpose of my visit to the Big Apple is three-fold.  I am here to visit with American companies that already have expanded to or are interested in investing in the UK, to support UK companies making inroads into the market here in the US, and to support UKTI staff here in the field. (And I have arrived at such a busy time that I have been able to do all three in a matter of just a few hours!)

Perhaps providing a bit of context surrounding my visit is appropriate before I share my observations. The UK Government is taking tough and decisive action to deal with the record budget deficit and to rebalance and rebuild the UK economy. The coalition government understands that a long-lasting economic recovery must have its foundations in the private sector, and has accordingly put the UK’s ability to attract and retain inward investment and expand international trade at the heart of its work. 


Which is why I am so encouraged by what I have seen since arriving. Just this morning I attended a networking reception for UKTI’s Digital Mission 2010—a group of the UK’s most innovative digital technology companies in New York to learn more about the market, find partners and investors, and make the connections that could take their businesses global. These are among the best and brightest UK companies, and they are here, now, to develop opportunities for tomorrow. I was deeply impressed by their professionalism and inspired by their confidence that despite a difficult environment, they will succeed.

I also had the opportunity to meet with key American investors in the clean technology and renewable energy sectors at a reception last night. It has long been a priority of the UK Government to support low carbon industries through progressive legislation, and partnering with US firms to deliver this agenda is critical to the UK’s long-term success. When one considers that, according to government reports released just days ago, off shore wind alone will create thousands of jobs within ten years, it is of vital importance to be working with and listening to our American partners now.

Later in the week I will be travelling to Washington, DC where I will meet more front-line staff who are delivering the UK’s commercial and political agendas across the US. I suspect that my New York experience is indicative of what is going on across the US, and if I am correct, than I am confident that the US and the UK are getting on their way to recovery.

About Dominic Meiklejohn

I was born in Woking, outside London, in 1967 and attended Merton College, Oxford University, graduating in Politics, Philosophy and Economics. After university, I worked for HM Customs and Excise…

I was born in Woking, outside London, in 1967 and attended Merton College, Oxford University, graduating in Politics, Philosophy and Economics.

After university, I worked for HM Customs and Excise before joining the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1990. After working for the European Community Department, I learned Polish and began a posting at the British Embassy Warsaw, where I headed the British Know How Fund for Poland (1993-96). In 1997, I worked for the OSCE Mission in Albania, before heading up the India team in the South Asian Department of the FCO. In 2000, I was posted as First Secretary to the British Embassy Warsaw, with a particular focus on European Union issues in the run-up to Poland’s accession to the EU. In 2003, I returned to the UK as Deputy Head of the Environment Policy Department. From 2004-2005, I led the FCO’s Knowledge Management Programme. During this period, I led two deployments of the FCO’s Consular Rapid Deployment Team– to Sri Lanka, after the tsunami in 2004 and to Pakistan, after the earthquake in 2005. From 2006-2007, I served as Deputy Consul-General, Basra, Iraq. From June 2007 I worked with the FCO’s Change Unit.

I took up my current appointment on 22 January 2008. My wife Joanne and I are the proud parents of Olivia. Outside of the office, I cycle around Manhattan, play soccer (football) and, when parenting duties allow, enjoy the cultural riches offered by New York. I try hard to understand baseball.