Notes from the CEO – June 2020

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Duncan Edwards
Chief Executive Officer
BritishAmerican Business

As we’ve just been through the first of the summer public holidays on both sides of the Atlantic I wanted to update members, partners and friends of BritishAmerican Business on our current and future program of work and how we are faring ourselves through this crisis.

Our work on your behalf falls into three categories; trade promotion, policy issues and networking around thought leadership and all three of these areas of activity are continuing in our new virtual world. At the end of March, our trade promotion work included recognizing UK and US companies for their commitment to doing business in the other market at our Transatlantic Growth Awards. You can see the impressive line up of winners here and thanks to our friends at HSBC for their sponsorship. Our annual trade reports on doing business in the other market will be out later in the year and we continue to work closely with the DIT and Select USA to encourage investment and make connections.

We are very active on policy issues as the delayed trade talks between the US and UK teams got under way earlier this month. We have had briefings for our policy focused members from both negotiating teams and general feedback around the first round of talks is positive. Both sides know what the challenging issues are going to be (both inside the agreement and out) and these will need to be addressed head on in the coming rounds if there is going to be a chance of getting this done.  (It looks like the inclusion of Huawei as a supplier in the UK’s telecoms infrastructure, which the US has found problematic, is in the process of being solved.)  Our role will be to provide input on any substantive issues from the perspective of business and, perhaps more importantly, to build momentum in support of an agreement more widely amongst the business community and beyond.

We are pleased to be organizing a series of regional sessions for trade Minister, Greg Hands and the DIT team with our affiliate chapters across six regions of the USA during June as part of this outreach and will be doing the same in the UK as the negotiations proceed. An agreement between these two allies has the chance to set the global standard for future trade agreements and we will be arguing for a wholesale removal of barriers to trade and investment whether they be financial, statutory or regulatory. The starting point for both economies is going to be miles from where it was at the start of the year and trade and investment are going to be vital in the rebuilding process.  If any of our members would like to help, we are putting together a group of ‘Champions of Trade; individuals and companies that can talk about the positive impact of trade on their businesses and their communities. Please let Emanuel Adam know if you would like to be part of this exciting campaign.

Our thought leadership program has been busy; we have been running webinars and round tables offering practical help for members or a chance to think about the implications of the crisis over the longer term. Highlights from the last few weeks include a terrific discussion with Kevin Sneader, global managing partner of McKinsey and a round table with former British Foreign Secretary, Lord William Hague. We are constantly adding to our program so please keep an eye on our events here.

As we have been continuing with our work, we have also had to act, like any small business, to do everything we can to get through this crisis ourselves. Much of our revenue at BAB comes from live, in-person events and, for now at least, these are not happening. Our principle revenue source therefore is our membership income and I would like to thank all those who have renewed their membership with us over the last couple of months and encourage you to do so if your membership comes due soon.  I would also like to thank those members who have contributed to our ‘Continuity Fund’; we are using this money to ensure we retain a critical volume of members of every size and in every sector. Nothing is certain, but we feel we have a good plan for getting through this crisis and will be working hard to represent your interests as we do so.

Finally, I know how brutally tough this crisis has been for some of our members and we wish them the very best as they deal with the enormous challenges that they face. At the same time, many of our members have been doing incredible things to help the healthcare providers, their communities and society as a whole in any way that they can. You can see a collection of these inspiring stories here.

Whatever your connection to BAB, we hope you are faring well and look forward to connecting soon.