Us Ambassador Reception In Newcastle And Not A Ferrero Rocher In Sight

Issue 27

There is never a dull moment at NE1 and no two days are ever the same. This summer, the usual high profile NE1 events including the Newcastle Motor Show, NE1 Restaurant Week, Quayside Seaside and Screen on the Green have all taken centre stage in the city attracting tremendous support from the public and businesses alike.

While people recognise and are very familiar with NE1’s active events programme, our NE1 Alive after Five initiative and our capital investment projects behind the scenes we’re also involved in a whole raft of work to promote the city internationally, attract inward investment and put the city on the global map and firmly on the radar of potential foreign investors. In a post Brexit world, international relations are increasingly important for Newcastle’s economy. We are not just a modern European regional capital city, we are also a global city that trades with the rest of the world. To ensure that we do not shift from this position, or lose focus, we have stepped up our efforts on an international plane and are working hard to forge strong global connections for Newcastle and our business community. Newcastle has a long and illustrious history of trading with and across the globe and we want to keep it that way.

Recently our efforts saw us hosting a reception for the acting US ambassador to the UK. Lewis Lukens, the Acting Ambassador visited Newcastle to officially open a public photography exhibition marking the centenary of America’s involvement in World War 1. The exhibition, Fields of Battle, Lands of Peace: The Doughboys 1917-18, was located outside the Central Station in Newcastle and provided a portrait of the WW1 battlefields. The work by Michael St Maur Sheil is on a global tour and had already attracted over 5 million visitors before arriving in Newcastle. To capitalise on Acting Ambassador Lukens visit to the city, NE1 organised a formal reception at the city’s iconic Castle Keep. An invited audience of 15 of the city’s top businesses were in attendance chosen because they represented some of the North East’s key growth sectors from education through to digital, media and marketing. The Castle Keep provided a fitting historic backdrop for us to set the scene about Newcastle and the North East. It was the ambassador’s first visit to Newcastle and we used the business breakfast to highlight the city’s industrial heritage and outline its current and future prospects and business aspirations. Much is made of the UK’s special relations with the United States, in a regional context this is underlined by the fact that 40% of all foreign domestic investment in 2016 came from the US. In a building steeped in centuries of northern history the Castle Keep provided a wonderful backdrop for the event and allowed us to sell the city to potential international business interests and showcase the world-class expertise of the city and city region’s business community. The visit has laid the foundations for high-level, on-going relations with the United States and we hope to follow it up with further visits from the US Embassy’s commercial team and the new UK Ambassador, Woody Johnson following his election by the Senate earlier this month. NE1’s international relations have and will continue to extend beyond the US, we have also successfully hosted delegations to the city from the Arab states. Again, the Arab Ambassadors commercial attache visit was designed to showcase Newcastle and the wider region’s commercial strengths. In addition to this, NE1 has also attended property investment conferences in France as well as representing the North East at the Business Improvement District European conference in Germany. Newcastle has always been a city of innovation and one that looks outwards NE1 is keen to continue this tradition and our efforts in promoting Newcastle internationally aim to ensure that we are ‘top of mind’ for countries and global companies looking to invest. With an ever-changing political landscape it is crucial that we cast the net wide for investment partnerships and global connections, our economic future depends on it.

Newcastle has always been a city of innovation and one that looks outwards NE1 is keen to continue this tradition and our efforts in promoting Newcastle internationally aim to ensure that we are 'top of mind' for countries and global companies looking to invest.

Stephen Patterson

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