Rhode Island trade mission to forge links with UK business

Providence RI: A September trade mission from Rhode Island to Scotland and the North of England has been announced that will see local firms meet with UK business leaders to grow exports from the State to one of the world’s largest economies.

Organized in partnership between the Chafee Center for International Business at Bryant University, Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, and the US Department of Commerce, the trade mission will see Rhode Island business leaders visit Edinburgh and Glasgow, as well as the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ cities of Leeds and Manchester.

“The potential for trade between the whole Northern Powerhouse region and the State of Rhode Island is huge,” said Ray Fogarty of the Chafee Center for International Business.

“The UK is one of the top export markets for New England businesses, and we’re looking forward to introducing the delegate firms to potential clients there in order to further strengthen links between the UK and USA, and to grow trade and do business,” he added.
The trade mission, which will leave from TF Green airport on 15 September, returning a week later, will bring together Rhode Island businesses with potential customers and business partners in the UK. It will also see several events take place aimed at raising the profile of the State’s tourism offering to potential visitors from Scotland and England.

The September visit follows a trip to Leeds in 2016 when business leaders met with leading firms and civic leaders in the region for the first time, and which highlighted the similarities between the two economies and strengthened the ambition to do business together.

Local firms already committed to the mission include: Cranston-based Mearthane Products Corporation; and Providence-based life sciences law specialist Feeney Law, which has built a network of UK lawyers based in London and Leeds, and Warren-based environment monitoring specialist AVTECH Software.

“The UK is a big and welcoming market for US firms, regardless of the Brexit vote, and we’re looking to increase our market share there dramatically in the coming years,” commented Pete Kaczmarek, CEO of Mearthane Products Corporation.

“We have seen the direct sales benefit of trade missions before and we know the value of getting face to face with agents and customers in these markets, and the end result is more job creation in the State,” added Michael Sigourney, CEO and founder of AVTECH Software.

The ‘Northern Powerhouse’ region of the UK includes the famous industrial revolution cities of Manchester, Sheffield, Liverpool and Leeds, has a GDP of over $500bn and is home to 15 million people. Edinburgh and Glasgow are Scotland’s two largest economic centers, at the heart of a region with a $230bn economy and 5.3 million residents.

STEP funding is available to qualified Rhode Island businesses to offset trade mission costs. Further details about the trade mission, and details about costs and eligibility can be obtained via Kathy Therieau at Commerce Rhode Island on Katherine.Therieau@commerceri.com.

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