24 May 2016
One of the main priorities for the Chamber this year is to increase our international connections. We want to help our members in building business overseas and we have long felt that the international network of Chambers of Commerce is an asset that we should be using much more intensively.
We got a flavour of just how extensive the network is when we competed at the World Chambers Competition last year in Turin. There are active Chambers in every continent and in almost every city you might name.
Last week therefore we announced the agreement we have reached with the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce to deepen our relationship. That means our respective members now have access to each other’s services, we will hold two joint events in the year ahead and we will develop further plans for working together thereafter.
There are lots of reasons why Manhattan Chamber is one we are keen to work with. The US remains Scotland’s most important export market after the European Union. It has a 40% share of Scotland’s inward investment. United Airlines have a daily flight to Newark and American Airlines fly daily to Philadelphia. We have several members of our President’s Club away team in New York and Chamber President Neil Amner and Deputy CEO Richard Muir joined the Glasgow delegation to New York in April to promote trade, tourism and investment with and from the US.
The Scottish Government’s recent Trade and Investment strategy specifically encouraged the exploration of the linkages which Chambers of Commerce have all around the world and so we have joined with Scottish Chambers of Commerce in discussing with Scottish Development International how to do that.
At Glasgow we start from the premise that we should target a handful of regions for special effort and, in choosing, we used data from both our international trade certification work and from the destinations we know our members visit to do export business. The Eastern seaboard of the States was near the top of the list. Germany, Northern Italy, the United Arab Emirates, China and Canada all feature. We will be announcing our next formal tie-up later in the summer.
In the meantime we are also deepening relationships through our project work. So for example, our work on the circular economy is opening up a closer connection with Amsterdam, from where we are drawing knowledge and skills to do some pioneering work in the food and drink industry in Glasgow in association with Zero Waste Scotland.
We have healthy linkages with bodies like the Urban Land Institute and the OECD and only two weeks ago I spent a couple of days in Brussels contributing to a conference on the future for Belgian cities which in turn helps us understand what the future could look like for Glasgow. And of course we remain firmly committed to helping Glasgow City Council project the city as a natural option for investment.
Glasgow has been a trading city for well over 200 years and the Chamber has been an active player in supporting that for just as long. In essence therefore we are revisiting the Chamber’s original purpose and giving it a boost.
Feel free to ask how you might get involved at any time.