Two hundred leading North East England businesspeople heard the U.S. Acting Ambassador Lewis Lukens emphasise the importance of the close relationship between America and the region yesterday (19 July 2017).

He told the guests at North East England Chamber of Commerce President Club’s lunch held at Washington Old Hall how the special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom remains as strong as ever after years of shared challenges. Mr. Lukens said, “The United States and United Kingdom are providing the global leadership that cements our enduring partnership and makes our countries more secure.  Today, we stand together as committed partners working to shape the opportunities of tomorrow.”

“Bilateral economic ties between the North East and the U.S are strong.  Nearly a fifth of the region’s trade is with the United States. For example, the Lear Corporation from Southfield Michigan is creating new jobs in North East England, much like Sunderland-based SaleCycle is creating new jobs in the Washington, D.C. area.

“Your region has shown characteristic resilience through tough times.  Now the economy is more mixed, with knowledge -based businesses doing very well and the number of tech start-ups among the highest in the country.

“North Easterners are some of the friendliest and proudest people I’ve met.  I look forward to continuing our strong partnership with the North East well beyond my visit today.”

John McCabe, (Fusion PR), Chamber President said: “Providing the name given to America’s new capital was an early example of the fantastic trade ties between our region and the United States…ties that remain incredibly strong to this day.  Indeed, the US is our biggest, individual export market.

“In recent years the Chamber has been involved in three successful trade missions to Boston, and we look forward to welcoming a delegation back here from New England in September.  Our International Trade Director Julie Underwood was also in Atlanta earlier this year, and the mayor of that city will be another visitor to the North East in the autumn.

“In addition, America has consistently been the biggest source of inward investment into our region, including recent investments into Chamber Partner Members Sevcon and MSD.  With talk of a trade deal between the UK and US back in the news this month, there is clearly scope to develop these links even further.”

Sunderland is the only non-capital city to have a friendship agreement, which includes a strong focus on creating economic benefits, with Washington DC and there are more than 5,000 people employed by American-owned businesses in the city.

The President’s Club lunch was organised in partnership with MAKE it in Sunderland and sponsored by Northern. Northern’s regional director Mike Paterson addressed the lunch to update members on the progress of the rail operator’s modernisation plans. The event was also supported by the National Trust and hosted by Washington Old Hall. 

The Chamber’s President’s Club is sponsored by Brewin Dolphin.