Atlanta Spotlight | Sir Kim Darroch

British Ambassador to the US, Sir Kim Darroch, visited Atlanta, Georgia on 28-29 August to highlight deepening UK trade and investment partnerships in the state. The two-day visit saw the Ambassador call on Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. Sir Kim will also held trade discussions with business and civic leaders in Atlanta.

Speaking on his visit, Sir Kim said, “It’s a pleasure to be in Atlanta, Georgia, for the first time as Ambassador. Atlanta is a valuable trading partner for the United Kingdom, from its rising prominence in FinTech to its excellent work in the creative industries. In fact, over 24,000 jobs are supported by exports to the UK. We also have a rich shared history, bound by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s links to Newcastle University. As we chart the UK’s future outside the European Union, we look forward to strengthening our educational, cultural and trade ties with this dynamic city and the great state of Georgia.”

Sir Kim toured the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change where he paid his respects to civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and held a private meeting with Dr. Bernice King following the tour. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s visit to the UK to receive an honorary doctorate degree from Newcastle University. Dr. King’s 1967 visit to Newcastle was the start of a vibrant relationship formalized a decade later in the sister-city relationship between Atlanta and Newcastle.

That relationship continues to thrive today with UK firms such as Sage, founded in Newcastle, making their US headquarters here in Atlanta. Together with the UK Department for International Trade, the city of Atlanta is launching a start-up exchange program which will bring new and innovative companies from Newcastle to Atlanta for a residency this October. Newcastle will play host to a pair of Atlanta start-ups as well in return. Atlanta also played host to a dozen female business founders from the Northeast of the UK as part of the 2017 Northern Powerhouse Female Founders Trade Mission.
Welcoming the Ambassador to the state, Governor Deal said “We are pleased to welcome Ambassador Darroch to Georgia,” said Governor Deal. “The business relationship between Georgia and the U.K. is growing stronger every day, with major announcements from British companies such as ASOS and Meggitt just in the last few weeks. Because this relationship is so important, Georgia has maintained a representative in the U.K. since 2002. Last year alone, Georgia hosted more than 170,000 tourists from the U.K. and saw more than 1,300 university student exchanges. Georgia is proud to play a part in the special relationship between the United States and the U.K., and we appreciate the ambassador’s visit today.”

Georgia’s economic relationship with the UK remains strong with more than 300 UK firms and subsidiaries making their home in Georgia employing more than 29 thousand Georgians. The state’s export of goods and services to the UK exceeded $3 billion in 2016 and is projected to grow in the near future. Exports to the UK also support an additional 25,000 jobs in Georgia.

“I am pleased to welcome Ambassador Sir Kim Darroch to the City of Atlanta,” said Mayor Kasim Reed. “Atlanta has had a strong relationship with our brothers and sisters in the United Kingdom and with our sister city of Newcastle.  The Ambassador’s visit comes at a very special time, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s visit to the UK, and as we unveil a new statue honoring Dr. King at our State Capitol. We look forward to strengthening our relationship and our ties with Newcastle and the UK.”

Reflecting on the state’s economic climate, British Consul General Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford said “Georgia is an attractive destination for British investment and trade.” Pilmore-Bedford highlighted the state’s economic diversity adding “Over my time in Atlanta I have seen a growing number of UK companies come to the state.  Georgia’s mix of industries in high growth sectors makes it great trading partners with a fast growing advanced economy as the UK.”

The UK is Georgia’s 4th largest trading partner (behind Canada, China and Mexico) with bilateral trade worth $3.7bn. Per the Georgia Department of Economic Development, some 284 British companies have established 886 operating facilities in the state accounting for 60,000 jobs and around $6.6bn in Outward Direct Investment (ODI). 
In October, the influential Atlanta-based American Transaction Processors Coalition (ATPC) will host the inaugural Payments “P20” Conference in London. With support from UK Department for International Trade, it will be a meeting of fintech minds and a showcase for the important relationship between London and Atlanta. David Cameron and Lord Digby Jones are confirmed as keynotes with an expected audience of 150 representatives from the largest banks, fintech firms, regulators, and 20 of the top innovative companies from the UK. Themes will include financial inclusion, innovation and education.  Georgia is the payments processing capital of the US, responsible for 70% of all US payments processed annually. Over 60% of the fintech companies in this space are headquartered in Atlanta’s “Transaction Alley”,


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