The longstanding special relationship between the UK and the US was the focal point at a January 13th virtual event hosted by the Austin Technology Council and the British Consulate-General Houston, and attended by nearly forty senior executives from the tech community. Over fine Arbelour whiskies, UK Consul General Richard Hyde presided over conversations ranging from the benefits of a US-UK Free Trade Agreement, COP26 sustainability commitments, and ways that the UK Department for International Trade can assist companies seeking to expand their business in the UK.
Special guest, Her Majesty’s Deputy Trade Commissioner, Kunal Khatri, highlighted the tremendous opportunities in the tech sector made possible with a US-UK Free Trade Agreement. Mr. Khatri emphasized that, as two of the world’s most advanced economies, the UK and US will benefit from cutting-edge digital provisions which maximize opportunities for digital trade. Both countries have committed to an impactful digital chapter and ‘future-proofing’ a trade agreement in anticipation of rapid technological developments in the future. Acknowledging the pause in negotiations to make way for Biden transition, Khatri conveyed the UK Government’s optimism and commitment to engage USG around trade issues. The FTA will provide a clear-cut path for companies that currently have a business stake in the UK and promises to be an important boost to post-Covid economic recovery in both countries. Christina Luhn, PhD, Senior UK Trade Policy Advisor, welcomes public, private and non-profit sector engagement on the FTA negotiations: firstname.lastname@example.org
David Holmes, CTO for Energy at Dell Technologies led a discussion focusing on technology’s role in creating a more sustainable world and Dell Technologies longstanding corporate commitment to embed sustainability and ethical practices across its business. Dell Technologies innovations – including reducing the energy intensity of technology and developing solutions to support grid modernization – speaks to the focus and value of COP26 as an “all of society” climate change conference that promises to drive environmental gains at the governmental, business, and end-user levels. As president of COP26, the UK Government sees increasing global climate ambition as a major priority. The US is home to significant low carbon innovation, which is vital in delivering the technology needed to make ambitious climate pledges possible. The UK Government seeks to engage a broad range of US actors – from academia to business and at the federal level – on their innovation agendas. Those wishing to participate in this dialogue are encouraged to contact Amy Spall, UK Policy Advisor, Energy & Environment at email@example.com
Jon Marrs, Regional Director for Department for International Trade (DIT), led a third strand of discussion at the event focusing on how DIT supports businesses seeking to expand into the UK market. He encouraged Texas technology companies to engage DIT at any stage of their expansion, from the earliest days when a firm may just be contemplating international expansion, to companies who are already present in the UK market who wish to grow their UK operations further. DIT provides free, tailored professional assistance such as bespoke market and benchmarking reports that detail skills availability, site locations, financing and grant/incentive options that help US companies build their UK business. DIT also provides individual account management geared towards making market introductions, support with applying for visas, explanation of the UK tax environment, and other services. Companies wanting to learn more about these services are encouraged to contact Lara Purser, Trade & Investment Officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org