Gov. Nathan Deal and Lord Stephen Green, Minister of State for Trade and Investment, announced today from London that UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) will establish an office in Georgia to promote trade and foreign direct investment opportunities between the United Kingdom and the state.
"The United Kingdom is and will remain a strong business partner for the state of Georgia. The ties that bind us grow stronger each year, benefiting both economies," said Gov. Deal. "In this mission to the United Kingdom, I hope to build on our firm foundation of friendship and trust to further opportunities that will create jobs and profitable investment opportunities."
UKTI, part of the British Government, helps U.K.-based companies succeed in international markets and overseas companies bring high-quality investment to the country. The UKTI will be co-located with the British Consulate-General in downtown Atlanta. An officer is in place temporarily for the months of May and June to undertake preparation for the launch of the full-time trade office opening in early July with a team of two full-time trade officers. UKTI has been operating in Georgia through regular visits of trade officers from its Miami location.
"Trade and investment is at the heart of the UK's growth strategy and we see great prospects for further growth of British business links with Georgia and across the Southeast," said Lord Green. "That is why we are pleased to announce today an expansion of our UK Trade and Investment team in Atlanta to further develop these opportunities to the benefit of jobs in both our countries."
Deal and Lord Green made the announcement during the governor's first international mission since taking office. His visits to Liverpool and London are helping develop strategic partnerships with the United Kingdom to support job growth in both countries.
"The British government is delighted to be hosting Gov. Deal on this visit. The governor's visit will help to advance additional opportunities to expand this successful economic partnership to the benefit of both our countries," said Her Majesty's Consul General, Annabelle Malins, who is accompanying the visit.
"We do a lot of business in and with the U.K. and establishing the new trade and investment office is a natural outgrowth of that relationship," said Chris Cummiskey, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, who is traveling with Deal on the mission.
The United Kingdom ranks as the sixth-largest export market and eighth-largest import market for Georgia. The state exported nearly $990 million there in 2010, with top exports including electrical machinery, wood pulp, aircraft or spacecraft, paper and machinery. Imports from the U.K. totaled close to $2.3 billion and consisted primarily of pharmaceutical products, nonrailway vehicles, electrical machinery, machinery, and aircraft or spacecraft.
More than 100 Georgia companies have operations in the U.K. and around 565 British facilities operate in Georgia, including 110 manufacturing locations. These U.K.-affiliated companies employ close to 35,000 Georgians. Through the Department of Economic Development, Georgia maintains both a business office and a tourism office in the U.K.
This program follows a series of high-level visits: Mayor Kasim Reed of Atlanta visited London in November, U.K. Minister Alistair Burt visited Georgia in December and a Liverpool delegation led by the University of Liverpool visited Georgia in January. Daily flights between Atlanta and London operate out of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.