By Max Clarke
The UK’s first Nordic Baltic Summit concluded today with news of four significant trade deals between the UK and its international partners.
The companies, Vattenfall, Vestas, Arla Foods and InfoMentor, have the potential to bring millions of pounds to the UK economy as well as generating hundreds of new jobs.
As Prime Minister David Cameron held talks with the Premiers of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, business leaders benefitted from opportunities offered by the unique gathering. This included attending a trade forum organised by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and led by Trade and Investment Minister Lord Green on Wednesday.
Lord Green said:
“The Prime Minister has emphasised his determination to work more closely with our Nordic and Baltic partners.
“These deals are a big boost, not only for the companies involved but for the trade relationships between our countries. The investments are also a sign of confidence in our growing economy and our efforts to keep the UK the easiest place to set up and run a business in Europe.”
Vattenfall, one of Europe’s leading energy companies, has pledged to set up a new HQ in central London, which will significantly increase its presence in the UK.
Initially the HQ will employ 50 people but this is expected to grow steadily, and investments are likely to run to billions of pounds by 2015. Vattenfall have said that the UK, with the largest offshore wind market in the world, is its number one priority in the area of renewable energy.
Similarly in the low carbon sector is Vestas’ new blade development and test centre, due to open in the summer on the Isle of Wight. Vestas is a wind turbine company that has been developing technology for wind turbine blades for over ten years in the UK. The new centre will be able to house up to 400 highly skilled engineers.
Vestas will also continue to work closely with the UK’s R&D community, building on their work in composite technology at Bristol University.
In the dairy industry, Arla Foods, the owner of such well-known brands as Lurpak, Anchor and Cravendale, reiterated their plans to construct a £150 million ‘super dairy’ in Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire. When built, the dairy is expected to create over 1,000 jobs as well as generating £17 million a year for the local economy.
Icelandic firm InfoMentor also announced that it had signed a Letter of Intent with WebBased Ltd, which is based in Plymouth. Together the firms will share knowledge to create better IT programmes for schools so that teachers, parents, students and Local Authorities can better access information ranging from individual student attendance to educational performance and activities.
The deals represent a strong vote of confidence in the UK’s economic capabilities and in its capacity for long-term growth across all sectors.
The Nordic Baltic Summit ends today following two days of talks involving Prime Ministers, policy innovators, entrepreneurs and business leaders. They met to discuss how best to boost economic growth, enterprise and job creation while improving people’s well being.