By Max Clarke
Trade and Investment Minister Lord Green will today host the largest trade event ever held for business representatives of all eight Nordic and Baltic countries as well as the UK.
The trade forum, being held on the eve of the UK Nordic Baltic Summit chaired by Prime Minister David Cameron, will bring together over 100 senior business figures from sectors ranging from education to energy efficiency.
Speaking ahead of the event, Lord Green said:
“Bringing businesses together to find solutions that work for them is the best way to improve trade relationships at a higher level.
“Unprecedented discussions taking place today and, indeed, throughout this week’s Summit will help to boost our co-operation with the Nordic and Baltic States, which are key partners for growth for the UK.
“Each country has strengths that the others can learn from and I hope that the result will be increased business opportunities in all areas and across all sectors.”
The UK’s trade with Nordic and Baltic States reached nearly £54 billion in 2009, almost matching commerce with its significant and long-term trading partner, France.
Much of this trade came from high-tech industries, energy and infrastructure development, which are key themes of today’s conference and which are considered vital for economic growth.
Business delegates will look specifically at ways of developing new low-carbon solutions to common energy problems, and the best means of building successful low-carbon economies through cooperation in high-tech sectors.
Speaking of UK co-operation with international partners, John Cunliffe, CTO of Ericsson Ltd said:
"UK technology companies and their counterparts in the Nordic and Baltic regions are at the forefront of the digital revolution. By collaborating more closely, we can deliver ever smarter technologies and take advantage of new business opportunities."
The UK’s green capabilities will be on show, as MPs and business leaders showcase the UK’s low carbon business strengths, which now bring over £100 billion to the economy with obvious opportunities for overseas investors.
With the largest offshore wind market in the world, as well as a solar power market worth £1 billion a year, the UK has developed to become a world-leader in green investment.
Science and Innovation Minister David Willetts, Environment Minister Lord Henley and Energy Minister Charles Hendry will chair roundtable sections on, respectively:
• International collaboration for the digital age
• Waste to energy
• The future of offshore wind energy
Presentations will also be given on more modern developments, including waste to energy plants, which are becoming increasingly widespread, as well as the UK’s innovative technology sector. These will be followed by a plenary session on trade and investment led by Minister for Europe David Lidington.
Julian Gaylor, Managing Director of Envac UK Ltd, which will be represented at the forum said:
“The Envac system was quickly incorporated into flagship UK developments when it launched here in 2007.
“This demonstrates the UK’s commitment to driving forward low carbon economies and provides a perfect example of how fruitful trade between the UK and the Nordic and Baltic states can be. These countries have demonstrated a proven ability to innovate within the green technology industry, and will undoubtedly help the UK to achieve a sustainable future economy.”
The forum will also look at the possibilities presented by upcoming sporting events, including the Olympics, for boosting trade and showcasing opportunities for green technology.
The UK Nordic Baltic Summit, which will take place on 20th January in London, will bring together Prime Ministers, policy innovators, entrepreneurs and business leaders from the UK, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to discuss the challenges facing modern northern European economies, including how best to foster economic growth, job creation, and wellbeing in the current economic climate.