Dutch Ambassador gains insight in region’s excell

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Strengthening North Sea neighbours’ economic ties

The Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands Simon Smits will be meeting with a Norfolk and Suffolk delegation on Thursday 27 June to gain a deeper understanding of the area’s excellence in research and innovation around food, health and new technologies. Regional representatives will be seeking business and investment opportunities, and ways to enhance trading activities.

Norfolk and Suffolk already export £392 million to the Netherlands, representing 14% of our total exports, making the Netherlands a leading trade partner.

His Excellency will be visiting the Royal Norfolk Show today, and tomorrow he and his team will be on a fact-finding visit at Norwich Research Park. New Anglia LEP, Norwich Research Park and the University of East Anglia (UEA) will provide insight into the world-leading scientific and commercial work undertaken on food, health and the microbiome, genomics, med-tech, agri-tech and industrial biotech.

World-renowned institutes on Norwich Research Park include John Innes Centre, Earlham InstituteThe Sainsbury LaboratoryQuadram InstituteNorfolk and Norwich University Hospitals and UEA. The visit will also include a tour of the newly opened Quadram Institute. The research organisation will create a fundamental shift in the way we understand and address food, health and diseases.

Strong ties with the Netherlands
Norfolk and Suffolk have long and historic ties with the Netherlands, beginning with the fishing and wool trade in the 13th century. Today, both counties retain many economic links with the Netherlands, including renewables in the southern North Sea, oil, gas, aviation, agri-tech, food processing and ICT/digital.

Dutch Ambassador Simon Smits, said: “Norfolk and the Netherlands have many connections, going back hundreds of years to when the first ‘Strangers’ – Dutch refugees – first settled in Norfolk in the 1500s. They once made up a third of the population in Norwich, introducing new skills in weaving, cookery and printing. Today, that legacy goes on as we continue to collaborate, share new ideas, develop new technology, innovate and invest together.

“I find many areas of opportunity in Norfolk and Suffolk – the businesses here really have it all: deep knowledge and experience of food and drink production, innovative thinking and entrepreneurial spirit – attributes we Dutch share with you!

“I look forward to my visit and to working with Norfolk and Suffolk in the future to build on our existing strong connections and trading relationship as North Sea Neighbours.”

Doug Field, Chair of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Trade visits like these are vital for a country’s delegation to see our businesses in action and to meet with business leaders and scientists face-to-face. During this visit, we will focus on key economic activities and sectors that will benefit business, academic and science communities in Norfolk, Suffolk and the Netherlands. We’re looking forward to showcasing our world-leading projects in health research, food security, clean energy and new technologies to Dutch Ambassador Smits and his team.

“We work closely with the Department for International Trade and the Dutch economic development team identifying business and investment opportunities, and the visit to Norwich Research Park is an essential part of that.”

David Parfrey, Executive Chair, Anglia Innovation Partnership (the body that manages Norwich Research Park), said: “Norwich Research Park is striving to build on the world-leading research that is already taking place here by making more fruitful connections across the world. To address some of the critical global challenges rooted in food and health, we need to take a collaborative approach where scientists and businesses are able to work alongside others with complementary expertise for a common good.

“As a global community, we need to be better connected, both intellectually and physically. Opportunities like the visit from the Dutch Ambassador are a real step in the right direction. There is already a natural affinity between Norwich Research Park and the University of Amsterdam, which was evidenced by it being the institution that had the greatest number of views of our Vision Video when we launched it in January! We need to continue to build relationships that will enable Norwich Research Park to be regarded as one the key global centres for science-based research and spin out business opportunities.”

Trading relationships

A team dedicated to economic development from the Department for International Trade (DIT), Norfolk and Suffolk County Councils, New Anglia LEP work together with a Dutch team on exporting, investment and business support. This has led to an MoU, instigated by the LEP, with Dutch province Drenthe in September last year. The joint-working with Drenthe focuses on inward investment, export and collaboration on research and development (R&D).

In addition to that, a collaboration between East Anglia and the Netherlands was formalised focusing on gas exploration, offshore windfarms and decommissioning of old platforms in the Southern North Sea. Shortage of skills and resources has led to cross-border activity for both British and Dutch companies to collaborate and exploit these opportunities for mutual benefit. The MoU is between the East of England Energy Group (EEEGR), Amsterdam IJmuiden Ports AYOP, North Sea Energy Gateway, Den Helder NSEG and Team Humber Marine Alliance.

Cllr Graham Plant, Deputy Leader of Norfolk County Council and cabinet member for Growing the Economy, said: “We are delighted to host the Dutch Ambassador at the Royal Norfolk Show and showcase the innovative technologies used across Norfolk’s world-class food and farming sector. We share many links and economic partnerships with our North Sea Neighbours. I look forward to working with the Netherlands to strengthen the economic, cultural and academic links between our areas for many years to come.”

“This visit will also be an opportunity to build on the progress made last year including the Southern North Sea Energy Alliance and link we forged with Drenthe Province in the Netherlands.”

Matthew Hicks, Leader of Suffolk County Council, said: “It is essential that we continue to strengthen our relationships with neighbouring countries and promote the global opportunities that the region offers.

“I am pleased that the Dutch Ambassador is visiting to discuss future trade and the possibilities of working together. Suffolk has a lot to offer, including internationally-acclaimed ICT at Adastral Park, the energy coast, prosperous ports and logistics, world-class producers or food and drink, a booming tourism industry and the home of horse racing. I hope the Ambassador’s visit will result in a long and prosperous relationship.”

As part of strengthening trading relations, the Norfolk and Suffolk team has focused on key sectors that can break into the Dutch market such as food, drink, tech and energy. The team took 18 food and drink businesses to Horecava – one of Europe’s largest hospitality trade shows in Amsterdam. Each producer secured leads and several have already signed contracts with distributors or supermarkets.

The next major trade expo to The Netherlands is Offshore Energy 2019 on 8 and 9 October in Amsterdam. Peel Ports, Stowen, Enermech, EEEGR, Vissim Renewables are confirmed to attend with only a few spaces left. Exhibitors will be supported by economic development and inward investment officers from DIT and the region. For more information about the expo, contact Roberta Willner, Project Manager Inward Investment at Norfolk County Council at [email protected].

For business space and opportunities at Norwich Research Park, visit www.norwichresearchpark.com.

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