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U.S. Commercial Service in London

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Comment from John Breidenstine

Minister-Counselor for Commercial Affairs, American Embassy, London

The United States and the United Kingdom share an extraordinary trade and investment relationship. Our bilateral foreign direct investment, the world’s largest valued at more than $1 trillion, supports a total of approximately two million jobs on both sides of the Atlantic. Our annual trade in goods and services exceeds $200 billion, with more than 42,000 US companies already actively doing business in the United Kingdom.

Part of the American Embassy in London, the Commercial Service (CS) seeks to promote US exports and advocate on behalf of US business interests, while also showcasing the United States as the premier destination for investment and tourism. Given that London serves as the EMEA headquarters for many US companies, we also work to facilitate our firms’ commercial activities and promote transparency and good governance throughout the region.

To assist US exporters in search of UK partners, the Commercial Service offers a variety of customised services, including matchmaking and single company promotions. We also recruit buyer delegations from the United Kingdom to attend trade shows in the United States and support US exhibitors at UK-based trade events. For example, we invite UK tour operators, travel agents and travel media to meet US exhibitors at London’s World Travel Market and support a strong US presence at other shows, including Defence & Security Equipment International, the Farnborough International Airshow, InfoSecurity Europe and Oceanology among others. For updated information on our trade events and programs featuring US exporters seeking UK partners, please visit

Another feature of our work is SelectUSA, a programme launched in June 2011 by President Obama to facilitate foreign direct investment in the United States by helping to reduce red tape and streamline local, state and federal laws and regulations. The Commercial Service in London supports this programme through regular outreach to the UK business community at seminars and conferences organised in cooperation with BritishAmerican Business, the Council of American States in Europe and other organisations.

A new initiative launched this past year by CS London is SelectUSA Tech, a seminar series to help UK-based early stage technology companies understand what they need to know before launching their businesses in the United States. The “bootcamp” events address legal, tax, accounting, insurance and visa/immigration issues, while also covering how tech entrepreneurs can access US buyers, venture capital, debt financing and general banking services. Working together with a wide range of private and public sector partners, such as UK Trade & Investment, Scottish Enterprise and Northern Ireland Science Park, and many more, CS London has staged standalone events in London, Edinburgh and Belfast, and participated in other London-based technology events highlighting the attractiveness of the US market.

So, why do local tech startups look to the United States to grow their businesses? First of all, it is our home grown, entrepreneurial culture. Last year alone, an average of 476,000 new businesses were created each month in the United States. Furthermore, the United States accounts for more than 55 per cent of global ICT R&D and 40 per cent of global technology purchases. Or, as President Obama noted at the 2013 SelectUSA Summit in Washington, DC, “There is no better place in the world to do business than the United States of America”. For more information about investing in the United States, please see the article on page 49 by SelectUSA’s John Meakem or visit

Finally, we would like to thank BritishAmerican Business for its continued close cooperation in the support of US-UK trade and investment. Whether you would like to partner with US exporters or invest in the United States, we all stand ready to assist you. I wish you great success in your business ventures.

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