Jonathan Knott

Former British ambassador to Hungary, Budapest

Part of UK in Hungary

27th November 2012 Budapest, Hungary

Emerging Europe

I was back in the UK for a few days recently. I’m coordinating the work the UK’s Embassies in Central Europe do in promoting trade opportunities for British business in the region. Within Central Europe the export markets are modest by world standards.  But together they make up a market of some 100 million people. And a combined GDP of around 1 trillion Euros. That, together with the fact that these markets look set to grow much quicker than the more mature markets of Western Europe make this part of the world very attractive for British exporters.

At least it should do. But experience shows that few British businessmen are aware of the opportunities in this part of the world. There are many reasons for that. But we’d like to get Central Europe into the British business consciousness as an export destination and somewhere to look for partners to get into more difficult markets in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. And so we’ve put together a programme of events round the UK to explain these opportunities: some focusing on a particular part of the country, some on particular sectors. And I went to events in Preston (for NW England) and Guildford (for the SE) to make my contribution.

The events were packed out. Standing room only. Which gave the atmosphere a real buzz. A few of us offered overviews of the region and the largest economies in it (including Hungary’s). And then we spent the afternoons speaking one-to-one with businesses about the opportunities they might have in-region. Over the two days I participated I spoke to around 250 businesses in the open sessions and 35 one-to-one. Not all of them, of course, will come to this market and make money here. But I really believe a large proportion will. The Trade team in the Embassy are working with all those who contacted me at or after the event and I’m looking forward to seeing in 3 months or so how much real business has been generated.

I love these occasions and talking with British business. It’s one of the ways I feel I can make a real difference. Helping those firms but, indirectly, helping the UK get out of its economic troubles. And I think the Central Europe opportunity is a real winner for us. We’re calling it Emerging Europe to give a flavour of what’s going on here.

If you’re interested, take a look at the website we’ve put together.

About Jonathan Knott

Jonathan Knott was appointed Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Hungary in March 2011 and arrived in Budapest in February 2012 to take up his post. He left this post on April…

Jonathan Knott was appointed Her Majesty’s Ambassador to
Hungary in March 2011 and arrived in Budapest in February 2012 to take
up his post. He left this post on April 2015.
He has previously held a variety of diplomatic posts at home and
abroad, several with a particular focus on commercial and corporate
finance issues. Jonathan has served in a number of positions in the
British Diplomatic Service since joining in 1988:
Before his appointment was Deputy Head of Mission and Director for Trade and Investment in South Korea from 2008 to 2011.Between 2005 and 2008 he held the post of Deputy Finance Director in the FCO.From 2000 to 2005 he served as First Secretary (Trade, Corporate Affairs and Finance Negotiator) in UKDel OECD Paris.From 1996 to 2000 he was First Secretary (Head of Political/Economic/Aid Section) in Mexico.From 1995 to 1996 he worked in the FCO as Deputy European Correspondent at the EU Directorate.Between 1991 and 1995 he served as Third later Second Secretary (Political / Press and Public Affairs) in Havana.From 1990 to 1991 he was Desk Officer in the FCO’s First Gulf War Emergency Unit.Between 1988 and 1990 he worked as Desk Officer in the FCO in the Anti Drugs Cooperation Department.
Jonathan holds an MA in law from Oxford University, and he is a
member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. He speaks
English, French, Spanish and Hungarian. He is married to Angela Susan
Knott and has one daughter and two sons.

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