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WINTER 2008 / SPRING 2009





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GREAT OPPORTUNITIES FOR LONDON 2012 “The great spectacle of the Beijing 2008 Olympics and Paralympics, allied to the phenomenal success of British athletes, have given us a taste of what we can expect in London 2012 when the UK plays host to the world. The difference is that the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be taking place on our doorstep, providing an exciting opportunity for our communities to get involved and for the Northwest to benefit in sporting, social and economic terms.” – so says Andy Worthington, Chair of the North West Steering Group for London 2012. And North West companies are already successfully competing for business! Over 34 local firms have already secured work from London 2012, and 28 companies have secured contracts from the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), of which 72% are SME’s.

FREE EVENT TO GET BUSINESSES ON TRACK WITH LONDON 2012 OPPORTUNITIES DECEMBER 9TH 2008 A FREE event is being staged by Cumbria Vision and the Northwest Business Network to give Cumbrian businesses the chance to learn about opportunities arising from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The seminar and workshop will be held at

Over 2080 North West companies are now registered on CompeteFor - the official portal for London 2012 contracting opportunities. 83 North West businesses have been shortlisted for contracts, and two - Speedy Hire in Merseyside and Imagination Ltd in Wirral – have already won work. North West companies that have been working directly with the ODA also include The TAS Partnership Limited (Preston) – who have undertaken a procurement study for the provision of coach and bus transport within the Olympic sites, and Watson’s Steel (Bolton) who won a contract to manufacture and fabricate the steel structures for the Olympic Stadium. Many North West companies have also won businesses supplying other London 2012 contractors, including a number of design &

Rheged, Penrith, on Tuesday, December 9 from 9.30am to 1pm. Mark Hodgson, Strategy Manager with responsibility for Olympics-related issues at Cumbria Vision, said: “The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games is a once in a generation opportunity for the UK and there is significant potential for Cumbrian businesses to get involved through the many contracts that will arise from it both directly and indirectly. “Many businesses in Cumbria have a long-held competitive edge in those industries which will help deliver high quality games for all to enjoy.

LANCASHIRE AEROSPACE COMPANY FLYING HIGH WITH ROYAL SAUDI AIR FORCE CONTRACT Lancashire-based Euravia Engineering & Supply Co Ltd has announced that the Royal Saudi Air Force has awarded the company a multimillion contract for the repair and overhaul of high-speed turbine engines. Euravia's Managing Director, Dennis Mendoros OBE, DL, FRAeS said: "Despite fierce international competition, Euravia once more has proven its competitive credentials. We feel that Euravia's reputation for quality and on-time delivery has played a key role in securing this contract, and we will work in partnership with our customer and Al-Haitam to deliver the contracted services and support RSAF's operational requirements." This contract comes on the back of the recent RAF contract award to Euravia for the design, repair and overhaul of the Sentry APU. Euravia is also supporting the French Air Force, NAMSA,


Royal Netherland Air Force, Pakistan, Chile, Ecuador, Kenya and other international defence forces. Euravia recently invested heavily in new facilities, engine testing, equipment and training which has resulted in securing over 50 civil airlines and operators ranging from the Pacific Rim to the Middle East, across Europe, Canada and USA.

creative industries who have successfully been selected to be on LOCOG panels for their marketing, e-digital and print panels. For more information on how you can register your business visit To enquire about Business Link’s “fit to supply” programme visit

It cannot be stressed enough that, just like the competitors who will compete for gold, you have to be in it to win it.” The event will also be used to raise awareness of CompeteFor, the chosen website for the London 2012 contract opportunities. It acts as a brokerage service between buyers throughout the London 2012 supply chain and potential suppliers.

To register online for the event visit

Mr Mendoros said: "Part of Euravia's success is attributed to the support and encouragement that we have received from UK Trade & Investment over the years. The North West office has been very helpful in arranging inward visits and facilitating meetings with prospective international partners, and during the recent Farnborough Air Show we had the opportunity to use extensively the UKTI facilities and meet customers and international business associates under the UKTI banner."

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GROWTH IN THE GULF? The Gulf States usually refers to the kingdoms of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, the sultanate of Oman, the states of Kuwait and Qatar and the United Arab Emirates together forming the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Persian Gulf. These 6 countries all have significant revenues from oil and gas and smaller local populations, making their respective per capita incomes significantly higher than those of their neighbours. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the UK’s largest market in the Middle East, and our 9th largest export market in the world. Total exports to Dubai were worth £1,972.55m, Abu Dhabi £316,606m and the Sharjah and the other Emirates £466,622m in 2007. The UAE has one of the highest GNPs per head in the world. While still heavily dependent on hydrocarbons, it is relatively well insulated from periods of low oil prices due to successful economic diversification, large foreign exchange reserves and overseas investments. Over 85% of UK-UAE trade is conducted through Dubai and the Northern Emirates. Dubai has a vibrant tourist industry, a thriving free trade zone, and is embracing new technology through ventures such as Dubai Internet City and Media City. Saudi Arabia is our second largest export market in the region after the UAE, with exports worth £1,873.2m in 2007. The UK is also Saudi Arabia's second largest foreign investor after the USA. Its growing economy is creating opportunities for both exporters and investors, further boosted by moves to diversify away from dependence on oil and gas; by economic reform programmes, market liberalisation; and a growing private sector. Kuwait has an oil-rich economy heavily dependent on imports and represents a good and varied market for UK exporters. Kuwaiti businesses are very active in the re-emerging Iraqi market and are keen to join UK companies

exploiting opportunities. Kuwait's geographical position makes it a natural gateway to this market.

Qatar’s economy had been growing at an amazing pace. Revenues from the world’s 3rd largest natural gas reserves are funding some of the biggest infrastructure and economic diversification projects anywhere in the world. Qatar’s GDP per capita was forecast to exceed $67,000 in 2007 making it one of the richest countries in the world. Hundreds of billions of dollars are being spent upgrading power, transport and water infrastructure networks and on social development programmes to increase capacity in the ICT, education and healthcare sectors. Bahrain has a small and reasonably prosperous economy with less dependence on oil than most Gulf states. It’s diversity and openness continue to present opportunities for exporters. Privatisation is a key part of economic policy, and will include the service and manufacturing sectors, in particular tourism, communications, transport, electricity and water, the ports and airport service, oil and gas sector and postal service. Oman was worth £268m to UK exporters in 2007 (goods only). The country relies on oil for most its revenue, and defence accounts for one third of its expenditure. There are key opportunities across a range of sectors including tourism. Can the Gulf States continue to grow in this current uncertain economic climate? The latest financial comments predict that although weakened by falling oil prices, and reducing values of sovereign wealth funds, the governments in the Gulf States will increase public sector spending to maintain their expansion – although this will be at a slower rate than originally planned. They will want to continue with the key infrastructure and power projects designed to reduce their long-term dependency on oil revenues. Whilst economists are reducing their forecasts for economic growth – they are still predicting real growth of around 5% next year.

FORTHCOMING EVENTS To help North West companies access these markets we have an ongoing programme of events. Following on from our large multi sector market visit in November we have a series of sectorfocused visits giving NW companies the opportunity to visit key exhibitions: • 19 – 21 JANUARY 2009 ABU DHABI – WORLD Future Energy Summit With over 15,000 attendees expected to attend in 2009, the summit and exhibition will be the largest meeting of influential figures within the renewable energy industry - covering a wide range of themes including energy policy, green buildings, clean transport, solar, wind, biofuels, ocean power, geothermal and nuclear. • 26 – 29 JANUARY 2009 DUBAI – ARAB HEALTH The Arab Health exhibition and congress is the region's premier event for the Middle East bringing healthcare manufacturers, wholesalers, dealers and distributors together with some of the most important and influential decision-makers in the Arab world. Arab Health 2008 showcased products and services by more than 2200 exhibitors and attracted more than 50,000 healthcare professionals from all over the world. • 23 – 26 FEBRUARY 2009 DUBAI - GULFOOD Gulfood is the region's largest and most important food and hospitality industry event. The exhibition is a showcase for manufacturers, distributors, and suppliers from around the world. Gulfood 2007 attracted 37,618 trade visitors from 140 countries with 2,471 exhibitors from 75 countries. For more information or to register for these events contact the North West International Trade Team Tel: 0845 603 7053 E-mail:


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Perhaps you have a member of staff married to a French speaker, or learning conversational Spanish because they have a holiday home in Spain? • Does the structure of your overseas activities really require the use of agents, or could you utilise improved language skills and cultural awareness to represent your business directly in some markets? • Is your cultural knowledge up to scratch? For example, if you’re dealing with Chinese suppliers, do you know that they would hate to be presented with a clock as a gift, because of the etymological associations with death in that country? You can prevent these sorts of misunderstandings by taking the time to study basic cultural awareness.


LANGUAGES HELPING NORTH WEST BUSINESSES GO THE DISTANCE By Dr Cristina Sousa, Managing Director of the Regional Language Network North West A British Chamber of Commerce survey conducted in 2004 found that 80% of export managers in the UK were unable to competently conduct dealings in even one foreign language – and given that 60% of British trade is with non-English-speaking countries, that’s a worrying statistic.

“In the high-tech world, health and safety issues, as well as requirements for instructions and manuals to be available in languages other than English, have in themselves raised awareness within the sector,” says Dr Sousa. “We see a lot more engagement in industries that already have legal requirements to use languages.”

“One in five businesses here actually lose money because of their lack of language skills,” says Dr Cristina Sousa, managing director of the Regional Language Network North West.

However, even managers who recognise the need for language skills within their businesses may still need an extra push to overcome perceived barriers such as extra staff resources and length of time for language training.

While our European counterparts aim to have employees skilled in three languages, we in the UK have been resting on our laurels thanks to our widely-spoken native tongue. To retain a competitive edge companies need to think seriously about the importance of languages in business, especially when involved in imports and exports. Dr Sousa and her colleagues are seeing improvements, however. “Speaking to the region’s exporters, we’re seeing more interest in languages, and less shying away from the subject,” she says. “More companies in the North West are employing people with language skills – whether intentionally or not.” The hi-tech sector, closely followed by professional services, are two areas leading the way in acknowledging the importance of languages and cultural awareness, and are much more likely to recruit staff because of their linguistic capabilities.


CASE STUDY : ALPHASONICS LTD. 17% EXPORT SALES INCREASE AFTER WEB TRANSLATION Knowsley-based Alphasonics Ltd, specialists in ultrasonic cleaning equipment for the printing, engineering and electronics sectors, have seen hugely positive results from using languages in it’s business. With 12 staff, the company has trading partners in over 20 countries worldwide. Managing director David Jones found that nonEnglish communication couldn’t be left to the company’s overseas agents if Alphasonics were serious about forging great relationships to grow the business. “We wanted to prove to prospective customers that we were making the effort to communicate in their language,” he says.

“Many people realise that language skills could help them win new business, but are put off by the effort, and the often-repeated mantra ‘we have all the business we can handle’, which is actually a barrier to expansion,” says Dr Sousa

Web communications were the starting point on Alphasonics’ languages odyssey. “We’d only been viewing the website from an Englishspeaking point of view,” says David, “which was bad news for a company with global business.” The decision was made to make the home page available in several key languages, with agents’ contact information for further details. Translations into 14 languages including Japanese and Malaysian ensued.

Dr Sousa recommends some basic first steps for companies considering the importance of language skills.

David, a regular business traveller to Europe, is now learning Russian and Spanish, which is already helping him win new orders.

• Look at your business activities in detail, including all the markets you’re currently dealing with or would like to deal with, and all the languages and cultural aspects involved. For example, if you have Spanish skills inhouse but you only deal with Spain, could there be further business opportunities in South America?

Following the web translations, Alphasonics’ export sales increased from 37% to 54%. “We’ve had a great response from international customers and suppliers,” says David. “Being able to refer people to our site makes a huge difference in terms of customer relationships, and helps earn respect.”

• Look at your staff resources – you may well have resources that you didn’t even know you had, whether that’s a language learned in school or a community language such as Urdu or Polish.

For more information about Regional Language Network North West call 0161 932 1035 or visit Alphasonics website:

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COME ON DOWN UNDER By Paul Noon, UKTI’s Director of Trade & Investment in Australia. It’s easy to think of Australia as the land down under – a great place to live blessed with sunshine, beaches and winning sports teams. But just as importantly, it’s a great place to do business.

The UK is Australia’s fourth largest trading partner overall, and the fifth largest source of imports. Australian investment in the UK is £18.3 billion, with major investors including Macquarie, NAB, Computershare, News Corporation, Cochlear, Stem Cell Sciences and Westfield.

Australia has been one of the world’s economic success stories for nearly the last two decades. It’s a major economic powerhouse in the South East Asia and Pacific region. Fuelled by a resources boom, its surging economy is now more than AU$1 trillion (around £450 million) the same size as that of Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand put together.

In Australia, UK investment stands at £21.9 billion. Many of the UK’s world players are represented including: BG Group, BP, Shell, International Power, Xtrata , Cadbury Schweppes, Vodafone, Virgin, Travelex and RBS. BHP-Billiton and Rio Tinto are dual listed.

What’s more, it’s on the doorstep of the fastest growing area of the world, and offers a natural and stable base for expansion into Asia. As a key supplier to the engine room of China and others, Australia is very much an integral part of the thriving Asian region. While there are challenges, the economy continues at full stretch, and the country’s terms of trade have reached historically high levels. Besides its attractions as a gateway to Asia, and a key provider of raw materials into the engine room of China and others, Australia offers great potential itself to British business. It is a more significant market for UK exports than its population of 22 million might suggest.

There are many more small to medium enterprises covering a broad range of business and from all parts of the UK that have been attracted down under. From a business perspective, Australia is a sophisticated, innovative and modern country. It has an open market based economy that encourages business and investment. In recent years, a number of reforms have boosted the country’s international competitiveness. These have included reform and deregulation of the financial and air transport systems, lower corporate taxation, and greater flexibility of the labour market. Tariff levels have been reduced to single digits. The financial system is wellregulated and the country offers an educated, multicultural and multilingual workforce. Doing business down under is aided by the longstanding historical and cultural links with the UK. Our two peoples share common values such as a commitment to democracy, freedom of expression and religion, tolerance, a sense of

fair go, of providing a helping hand to those in need, and of standing up for what is right. There is a shared language, familiar legal and political institutions, and a similar business culture. Not to mention a shared sense of humour, and appreciation of irony. For UK business then, Australia is an attractive target. UK Trade & Investment has identified a number of key business sectors that it believes offer opportunities. These include: ICT Food and Drink Agriculture Oil and Gas Communications Marine Pharmaceuticals Creativity and Design Even the “tyranny of distance” is shrinking with advances in technology and communications. To this end, Australia offers an advanced ICT infrastructure and technological adaptability. All of it means that it’s a good time to do business down under. So if you’re in business, and you’ve not looked at Australia, perhaps you should.

For more on doing business down under please contact the North West International Trade Team Tel: 0845 603 7053 E-mail:


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INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AN INTERNATIONAL STRATEGY By Miles Reese at the International Patents Office

Every product or service that we use in our daily lives is the result of a long chain of big or small innovations, such as changes in design or improvements that make a product look or function the way it does today. Take for example the mobile telephone, its technology can be traced back to an idea pioneered by the Hollywood actress Hedy Lamarr back in the 1940’s. Many others have since improved the design and function of such products, and legally protected their improvements through the acquisition of IP rights. Everything from a tube of toothpaste to the latest MP3 player will have Intellectual Property. The chemical formula or technical parts can be protected by patents, the shape or appearance can be protected by registered design, the brand name can be protected by trade marks and any artwork or music is protected by copyright.

HOW DOES THIS AFFECT YOUR BUSINESS? Regardless of what product your business makes or what service it provides, it is likely that you are using and creating intellectual property. Almost every business will have a trade name or a trade mark. Many will have valuable confidential business information that they may wish to protect. Others may have developed creative original designs or invented a new process.

WHY USE IP? Intellectual property can assist you in almost every aspect of your business development and competitive strategy, from product development to marketing. It may also play an important factor when considering exporting or expanding your business abroad.

GLOBAL PROTECTION? If an idea has global appeal, then the cost and resources required to secure all the commercial rights in advance would be daunting even by the standards of the largest innovator. In place of this, there is a series of mechanisms governed by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in Geneva that give enterprises the chance to explore how an idea is going to perform. This gives you options. For a relatively small deposit, you can secure your position. If an application takes off, you can then nail down the IP. If it flops, then you can let your rights quietly lapse.


Financially, you should be able to postpone your costs and match them more closely to your expected revenues. At the same time, you can demonstrate to investors that you are protected in all the main markets. It also helps when negotiating with potential partners and distributors. At home, you might already have an established reputation. Overseas you are a newcomer. So, if you have a clear claim to the rights, they will be happier to talk you. After all, why should they spend their promotional budget on you, if imitators can pick up the idea after launch?

PATENTS For technical breakthroughs or improvements, you have two layers of international support. First, you are free to talk about your innovation for a year without jeopardising your rights. Under the Paris Convention, any foreign application is treated as if its filing date was the same as at home. You are given a backdated priority over everyone else. Secondly, under the Patent Co-operation Treaty (PCT), you have a period of grace to decide in which markets you actually want to pursue an application. For around £2,000, you can make an application in a single language to WIPO, which then issues a report on any ‘prior art’. From this filing date, you then have up to 30 months before you move to the next stage of deciding in which markets you are actually going to make a full application.

TRADE MARKS Like the PCT, the WIPO runs a unified scheme for filing and renewing trade marks. Under the Madrid Protocol, you can pick and choose where you would like to be protected in up to 60 different countries. In effect, you gain a bundle of national rights, which are centrally administered, so saving substantially on cost.

Applications have to be straightforward enough to work across the board. Your application cannot differ or maximise your protection country by country, although any claims have to be pursued nationally. Even so, the Madrid Protocol is a highly effective starting point for enterprises looking to establish a global brand.

COPYRIGHT For any expressions of original thinking in the form of documents, presentations, software and websites, there is a flexible set of international agreements that give you a series of automatic rights. Under the most important, the Berne Convention (administered by WIPO), you have the same rights in 150 participating countries as any local enterprise. Within each country, there are significant exceptions and limitations in how copyright is interpreted. Guidelines within the Berne Convention keep these within bounds. These ground rules have been instrumental in allowing copyright to develop and adapt in the face of recent advances in communications technology.

UK TRADE & INVESTMENT AND UK-IPO PUBLICATIONS UK Trade & Investment, in partnership with the UK-IPO, have developed a series of IP Primers to help British companies in the major markets around the world. The IP Primers examine IPR in Brazil, China, India, Korea and Vietnam. To access the guides go to You can find more information on the UK Intellectual Property Office website or by calling 08459 500 505

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The development of the Prinovis site in Liverpool

NORTHWEST ONE OF THE BEST LOCATIONS FOR INWARD INVESTMENT £10.3 BILLION OVERSEAS INVESTMENT AS INTERNATIONALISATION STRATEGY PROVES A SUCCESS Global confidence in the North West is booming, with 2007-8 figures showing that the region is once again one of the UK’s top locations for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Overseas companies contributed a massive £10.3 billion to boost the region’s economy – an almost tenfold increase from the 2006-7 figure of £1.4 billion. The region attracted 156 inward investment projects, many related to advanced manufacturing and R&D, with over 14,600 jobs created or safeguarded. FDI plays an important part in the North West economy. A study by DTZ has found that over 17% of regional gross value added (GVA) is accounted for by foreign owned companies operating in the North West, and that their economic output (GVA) per worker is almost 50% higher than the regional average.

CASE STUDY : PRINOVIS This state-of-art gravure printing facility is one of the largest inward investments in the region in recent years – bringing £120 million to the North West economy. Part of a joint venture between media services provider arvato AG and two of Germany's largest publishing companies, Gruner + Jahr and Axel Springer, Prinovis owns five printing plants in Germany and employs over 4,300 people. Located at the International Business Park in Speke, Prinovis Liverpool opened in 2006 and achieved its target this year to be running at full capacity, serving a nationwide customer base. One of the largest printing plants in the UK, it has already created 400 jobs, with potential for futher expansion.

The Northwest Development Agency (NWDA) prioritises foreign direct investment as a crucial driver of economic growth in the region. With partner organisations such as UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and other stakeholders it works to promote the area as a dynamic location for overseas companies, as part of the North West Internationalisation Strategy and Action Plan (ISAP). The North West International Business Forum is key to driving this forward. Chaired by Anil Ruia OBE, Managing Director of Wrengate Ltd, and made up of senior figures from business, university and research sectors as well as NWDA and UKTI, the forum has led to a significant increase in resources deployed to promote the region overseas– with recent figures standing as testament to their success. Selective Finance for Investment in England (SFI) funds have also played a part in helping the region land big projects. General Motors’ recent £130 million investment in its Vauxhall plant at Ellesmere Port was secured with the aid of an SFI grant and training support from the NWDA, Adequate space to develop the 500,000 square foot facility, a suitably skilled workforce and the region’s excellent transport infrastructure were all key considerations in deciding to build the new plant in Speke. The NWDA co-ordinated the efforts of several local agencies, including Liverpool City Council, before meeting representatives from Prinovis to convince them of the benefits of investing in Liverpool. The 154-acre Liverpool International Business Park was identified as an ideal location. "The site offered us considerable benefits," says Bob Robinson, managing director of Prinovis Liverpool. "There was more than enough room for the facility, Liverpool John Lennon Airport is virtually next door and the road infrastructure is

and £3 million SFI funding helped St Helens firm Pilkington, acquired by the Japanese NSG group in 2006, secure a £40 million investment to develop a hi-tech new coatings facility next year to help the company maximise opportunities in the emerging solar energy market. Steven Broomhead, NWDA Chief Executive, said, “These figures are a real lift from recent stories surrounding the slowdown of the global economy and the financial credit crunch. FDI has been a fierce competition for some years now and we should take a great deal of encouragement in our region’s achievements. “This current year will see the toughest ecomonic climate the UK has faced since the Regional Development Agencies were established 9 years ago, and we should be prepared for an overall drop in the UK’s FDI performance, but I am confident that our diverse economy, particularly here in the North West, can ride out this storm in the longer term.”

excellent. We can truck materials anywhere in the country in just a few hours." The third and decisive element was the issue of skilled labour as Rotagravura printing is a specialist skill. Working with the Learning and Skills Council and other local bodies such as The Mersey Partnership, the NWDA collated indepth research on the size and type of labour available, including the skills of the workers, training and education and wage levels. "The research demonstrated that the skills we needed were readily available locally. Overall, NWDA support was instrumental in guiding us to our decision. They have a high degree of knowledge and contacts that are invaluable when you are making this sort of invesment," says Robinson.


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By Mette Nikolaisen, Nordic Communication Manager, British Embassy Copenhagen With its 25 million people in a land area bigger than France and Germany combined, the Nordic region is dynamic, highly sophisticated and very competitive, with a stable political and economic climate. Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden are all outward-looking global traders: home to brands such as Nokia, Carlsberg, StatoilHydro, IKEA and Ericsson. The countries regularly appear in the top ten world rankings for competitiveness, internet connectivity, gender equality and educational excellence. And when it comes to doing business with the Nordic countries, language is normally no problem, the market is close, there are good air connections with most UK cities plus an openness towards the UK, which is the result of very many years of trade, co-operation and understanding. The Nordic region presents opportunities in all sectors, but British quality products and services are particularly well received within the following sectors:

ICT The Nordic markets offer an excellent arena for IT and communications businesses. The presence of the large multinationals such as Ericsson, Nokia, Telenor, TeliaSonera and TDC, and a large number of innovative IT companies that produce embedded technology driving tomorrow’s communications needs make the Nordic ICT markets ideal for any company looking to grow internationally through partnerships, direct sales or joint R&D.

SCIENCE Nordic countries have recognised the significance of nanotechnology. Finland specialises in innovative nano structural materials, nanosensors and actuators and new nanoelectronics solutions, and is also at the forefront of development in printed electronics and atomic layer deposition (ALD) technologies. Denmark also has many nanotechnology projects in the physics and chemistry laboratories of its universities and sector research institutions. Sweden has one of the most active markets in Europe with lots of nanotech spin off companies from universities in Stockholm/Uppsala, Gothenburg, Linköping and Lund. Sweden is also strong in engineering and pharma/biotech. The Research Council of Norway launched the nanotech strategy NANOMAT in 2002.

LIFE SCIENCES The Nordics is one of the fastest growing life science regions in Europe with a number of trans-national clusters. Within these clusters, strong collaborations exist and historical Nordic competitors are now working together. Important Nordic biotech clusters include the Denmark-Sweden - Medicon Valley, the Oslo Cancer Cluster of 40 companies, the MedCoast, running between Sweden's second largest city Gothenburg and Oslo, the Lake Mälaren Bioregion, comprising the cities of Stockholm, Uppsala, Söndertälje and Strängnäs and finally BioTurku in south-west Finland.

MASS TRANSPORT Opportunities exist for UK companies supplying rail equipment and rail consultancy or engineering services in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. In each of these markets, there is a shortage of specialised rail skills for Metro and mainline projects, bridge projects and signalling. There are local contractors and importers looking for partnerships to strengthen their sources of supply and skills knowledge.

CONSUMER GOODS The Nordic region is an ideal export market for quality UK products. The range of consumer goods exported from the UK stretches from


clothing and accessories to food and drink, giftware and gardening equipment with much more in between. Consumers are familiar with British brands, in particular the more expensive, niche products. They expect quality and have the disposable income to pay for it.

EDUCATION There is a clear tendency to adopt new, innovative technical solutions to complement traditional teaching. Web based learning tools are already in use, as are new products & learning tools (e.g. performance simulations, wikis, blogs, serious games) targeted at higher education and the corporate sector.

ENERGY The Nordic region is important to the UK, in terms of trade, inward investment and energy security. With Norway still providing 25% of our domestic gas supply many British companies still look to the North Sea and the Arctic for longterm business growth. The energy teams in the Nordic also look to the future. Norway and Denmark lead the world in the development of new cleaner energy, especially hydro-power, tidal power and wind. Swedish companies excel in biomass energy, while Icelandic firms have carved out a niche in the geothermal sector. Carbon Capture techniques are also of increasing interest.

HOW CAN WE HELP? There are a number of ways UK Trade & Investment’s Team Nordic can help British companies. Whatever the size of the company, they can tailor the service to suit a number of requirements, such as a £500 cross Nordic 'taster' for anyone interested in having a quick look at the five countries (or any combination of them). This would include a couple of contacts in each country to follow up with. Or, if you prefer, the team can provide more tailored services, including validated lists and even an appointment service. For that they will discuss your requirements in greater detail before agreeing the level of service. For further information on the full range of services on offer, please go to:

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SPOTLIGHT ON NORDIC ONCOLOGY On 1 April 2008, oncology researchers and companies from the UK and Scandinavia kicked off UK Trade & Investment's Nordic Oncology initiative. During 2008-9 UKTI’s Nordic life science team will facilitate targeted oncology crossover initiatives to stimulate knowledge sharing as well as innovative research and industry collaborations.

“We recognise that tackling cancer effectively depends on targeted collaboration at every step. We also believe in creating a strategic meeting place to foster innovative solutions and partnerships’, says Christina Liaos, UKTI Director in Denmark.


competition from local companies is tough. But when we first entered the market it was like a dream – straightforward, with no language barriers or problems at all.”

Cabis Group started their Nordic journey when they won a contract with Norwegian Jo Tankers in 2005 to supply a safety and quality software solution for their ships. Since then the relationship has developed - Cabis has provided the latest version of their software to Jo Tankers and is looking to supply an additional application for skills development. Adrian Dore, Cabis Group’s Managing Director, says, “We managed to find a gap in the market, which I believe is essential to win contracts in a country like Norway. You have to stay focused on what you are trying to achieve since the

SUCCESS STORY : JOHN HEWITT Millom artist John Hewitt is hoping to become an overnight success at the age of 59 with the help of UK Trade and Investment’s Passport to Export programme, UKTI’s flagship service for new and inexperienced exporters. He contacted UKTI last year after wondering why nearly 700,000 hits on his website - hadn’t been turned into sales of his work which involves painting hard-edged abstract compositions on three-dimensional canvasses. Talks with UKTI staff, in particular his Cumbrian International Trade Adviser, Ian Readman, led to a visit to Denmark.

“Based on our knowledge about oncology activities in the UK and in the Nordic region we are in the process of mapping out companies, universities and other oncology stakeholders in all five Nordic countries and in the UK. This

Cabis also undertook market visits to Sweden and Finland to identify partners, which is their preferred way to secure complex sales in a new market. The company commissioned reports from the Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS), which provides research, introductions and the best country and sector specific business support and advice available, sourced through UKTI’s contacts in embassies and consulates worldwide.

John says, “I loaded my Land Rover Discovery with 13 paintings, booked a ferry and set off for the British Embassy in Denmark where I presented my work to representatives from seven regional embassies.” Relationships developed quickly with the Galleri Bastillen in the Frederikberg district, and John soon returned for the launch of his work at the gallery’s anniversary show on 8 August attended by 350 guests and opened by the British Ambassador who joined John on a subsequent television feature. John adds, “For a gallery to take a substantial quantity of work on first viewing is exceptional and I am extremely happy with all the help and support I received through the Passport to

combined knowledge will be the cornerstone for our initiatives over the year. It will not answer all questions but it will identify areas of potential collaboration and show the opportunities for partnerships.”

To find out more about this initiative British companies can meet the Nordic UKTI Life Science team at: • Biotech Business Exchange and Genesis, London, 8 - 10 December • UK-Nordic Oncology Conference, Copenhagen, March 2009

Adrian continues, “For a company of our size the challenge to break into a new market comes down to sales and marketing. Research and preparation is key at this stage and we have found it helpful to work with UK Trade & Investment in a number of countries to identify potential customers and set up meetings, using their Overseas Market Introduction Service”. For further information about the Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS), please contact the North West International Trade Team Tel: 0845 603 7053 E-mail:

Export programme and from the trade team in Copenhagen. I was also honoured that the Ambassador in Copenhagen, David Frost took part in the exhibition. Brilliant result!” Ian Readman says: “While the Denmark visit wasn’t an official sales trip, it has led John into an excellent new market and he will continue to receive full backing through the Passport programme which is designed to help novice exporters”

For further information about the Passport to Export Programme, please contact the North West International Trade Team Tel: 0845 603 7053 E-mail:


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THINK BUSINESS:THINK INDIA FORTHCOMING EVENTS AND TRADE MISSIONS India is the second largest export market in the developing world after China, and one of UK Trade & Investment’s designated High Growth Markets. UK exports of goods and services to India exceed £3bn. The UK has strong ties with India, and UKTI North West, working closely with the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) offers a range of services and events to ensure companies are well positioned to take advantage of this growing export and investment market.

A VISION OF INDIA 1ST DECEMBER 2008, THE LOWRY, SALFORD QUAYS 6.30PM – 9.30PM Building a new ‘media city’ for the world’s leading creative and digital businesses will not only bring a wealth of talent to the North West – it will help establish new links between businesses in the UK & India . Join us for a special FREE event at MediaCity, and find out how your business can share in these great opportunities. Speakers will include Jason Legget, NWDA Project Director of MediaCity, award-winning producer Parminder Vir, and Brian Thorp, Regional Director for UKIBC. Plans are even underway to bring along a guest speaker from film capital of the world... Bollywood! Eligible North West SMEs who are new to the market may qualify for UK Trade & Investment Market Visit support of £550. For further information on all of these events please contact the North West International Trade Team on 0845 603 7053 or email





UKTI North West, supported by NWDA and in association with Chambers of Commerce North West (CCNW) are organising a market visit to Mumbai.

Financial and professional services organisations are invited to join this mission, led by pro-manchester and supported by UKTI North West and the Northwest Development Agency. India has a considerable need for physical infrastructure (transport, power, water and habitation) and yet suffers from capital shortage. This presents significant opportunities for project financing, development of turnkey solutions and innovative funding packages including Public Private Partnerships (PPP). The development of financial services in India, is also very strong, and opportunities exist across the whole sector. Firms who can offer quality advice in areas such as banking, tax, law, PPP, IPO, recruitment and insurance are encouraged to join the delegation. The mission is open to any relevant North West company from the financial and professional sector. An experienced International Trade Adviser will provide pre-visit advice, as well as assistance with contact building and market research. There will also be pre-visit and in-market briefing from local British Embassy staff, networking receptions and local advance publicity.


The visit is designed to help North West companies explore new opportunities in India and the itinerary offers a structured group programme but with the flexibility to address individual requirements and market identification. The UK has strong ties with India and this visit will build on the success of our previous market visits. NW companies are well positioned to take advantage of this growing export and investment market. Experienced International Trade Advisers will provide pre-visit advice on both country and sector issues, as well as assistance with contact building and market research. There will also be pre-visit and in-market briefing from local British Embassy staff, networking receptions and local advance publicity. Applications are invited from North West businesses in all sectors and the closing date for applications is 17th December 2008.

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facilitate appropriate support from within UKTI DSO and elsewhere. Support is tailored to the individual needs of each company, and Charter members are requested to keep in touch with their account manager and be open and honest about any defence and security export-related issues. The SBU offer a number of free events and activities, exclusive to Charter members, including regional business briefings and presentations on aspects of defence and security exporting. There is also the opportunity to exhibit and demonstrate small items of portable kit to UKTI DSO staff, both military and civilian.

OPPORTUNITIES IN GLOBAL DEFENCE For small businesses, the global defence market can appear to be a daunting arena. Howard Gibbs, Head of the Small Business Unit at the UK Trade and Investment Defence & Security Organisation, looks at how it can assist them in accessing additional help when looking to export goods or services. The defence industry is one of the UK’s most significant sectors, with our defence exports second only, in global terms, to the United States. Yet so much of our overseas success is achieved by so few - approximately 97% of defence exports are won by the 20 largest UK companies. In order for the UK to remain at the competitive edge of defence requirements and homeland security technology, the industry depends not only on our Prime Contractors, but also on second-tier suppliers and niche product manufacturers. These smaller businesses are widely recognised as being the heartbeat of the UK’s defence and security community, driving through change by being innovative and developing new technologies. In April this year the UKTI Defence and Security Organisation (UKTI DSO) was established, and a new Security Directorate formed, bringing together UKTI expertise and the support previously offered by DESO, the Defence Export Services Organisation in the Ministry of Defence. UKTI DSO’s remit is to help maximise overseas sales of UK defence and security equipment and services, employing both military and civilian staff based in the UK and overseas and providing a range of services from regional marketing advice, analyses and reports through to

equipment evaluation, promotion, demonstration and training provided by the British Armed Forces. Breaking into the overseas defence and security market can be challenging, if not daunting, for small companies, and even for those that persevere and become successful it can be a long, slow process, putting considerable pressure on company resources and other priorities. One of the most vital services previously offered by DESO and transferred to UKTI this year, is the Small Business Charter, managed by UKTI DSO’s Small Business Unit (SBU). The Charter was set up in March 2004 and offers a range of assistance to small firms selling products and services to overseas defence and security customers. The SBU has three key objectives: • To identify small companies with the desire and potential for defence and security exporting • To understand their business and develop a close, two-way relationship with them • To ensure they are made aware of and are able to take advantage of the most appropriate UKTI, MoD and wider government support available in pursuit of defence and security export sales. To be eligible for Charter membership the company must be an SME whose products or services originate from within the UK. Part or total ownership by a larger company does not affect eligibility for Charter membership. Members can treat the SBU as a ‘one stop shop’ for all defence and security export-related matters, and each Charter member is allocated an SBU account manager, whose job it is to get to know the company and provide and

They also collaborate with UK defence trade associations and regional industrial groups to co-host higher-profile events and activities. Costs are kept to a minimum, with discounts negotiated wherever possible, and Charter members will often receive advance notification, putting them at the head of the queue. Charter members also have exclusive access to their own website – the Charter Members Centre. The site contains a wealth of information ranging from important announcements about future policy and forthcoming events and activities to Charter membership-related guidance and links to other important government and trade websites. The site also contains downloadable versions of key policy and promotional material. The Charter Members Centre is supplemented by ‘Small Talk’, a free newsletter highlighting the key points of interest currently online. In the last 4 years over 530 companies have signed up as Charter members; and in the financial year ending 31 March 2008 Charter members recorded defence and security export sales in excess of £320 million. Charter membership and the services of the SBU are entirely free of charge, as is the vast majority of the advice and support on offer. UKTI DSO’s position within government gives it unique access to ministers and senior UKTI and MoD officials who are committed to helping UK industry succeed. Charter membership is not the only way for small companies to conduct business with UKTI DSO – but it is the best way.

For more information contact: Howard Gibbs, Head of Small Business Unit UKTI DSO Kingsgate House 66-74 Victoria Street LONDON SW1E 6SW Tel: 020 7215 8204 Email:

This article was first published in Defence Contracts Bulletin.


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The world market for energy and environmental technologies and services (ETS) is currently valued at £2,723,000 million according to a recent study commissioned by Envirolink Northwest, with the UK market valued at £95 billion, and projected to grow to £170,710 billion by 2014-15. In the North West the ETS sector includes more than 2,500 companies, has a turnover greater than 6.5 million and employs more than 79,000 people, representing 10% of the UK market. ETS is a priority sector within the Regional Economic Strategy as set out by the Northwest Development Agency (NWDA). Currently, the North West’s share of UK ETS exports is comparatively low at 7%. In order to address this, UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) have had a secondee in Envirolink since 2004, with specific responsibility for delivering the international element of Envirolink Northwest’s ETS strategy. Envirolink Northwest is a not for profit organisation, launched in 2000 to support the development and growth of ETS in the region. UKTI are working with Envirolink to develop overseas trade in order to assist the North West ETS sector to outpace the global market growth rate up to 2015. UKTI North West International Trade Manager for Envirolink, Karl Susol, says, “As part of my secondment to Envirolink I work with businesses to help them fulfil their overseas trade objectives, whether they are novice or experienced exporters.” “We offer a range of support including liaising with commercial teams overseas to research potential opportunities, organising trade missions to priority markets, and attracting inward delegations of commercial officers, buyers and embassy staff to further promote good relationships with North West businesses.” Envirolink Northwest is developing its international strategy, based on the findings of a recent study by Innovas and K Matrix, looking at the North West ETS sector as a whole and prioritising key international markets. Karl works with the UKTI Environment & Water Team in London, and a team of international trade advisors in the North West, to deliver tailored UKTI services for ETS businesses. In June, for example, they jointly held a free ‘Environment and Water – Meet the Commercial Officer’ event for ten Northwest technology


and service providers in the water industry. One to one meetings were held with British Embassy commercial officers from Bulgaria, China, Egypt, India, Poland, Romania and Saudi Arabia. Karl says, “The companies always find these events really useful. They serve as a one-stop shop to increase their knowledge of a range of target markets in a single session, free of charge, saving them potentially months of research. The events are also a great way to raise companies profiles with key staff in the Embassies overseas, and raise the profile of the North West as a key region to source ETS technologies and products.”


A key element to the International Trade Strategy is delivering a comprehensive programme of sector specific trade missions. Recent missions include the US East Coast Trade Visit for the Energy Sector and IFAT Munich – the world’s largest trade fair for Environmental Solutions - with many more planned well into 2009. Some key ETS events on the calendar include: • Pollutec, Lyon, France, December 2nd – 5th • World Future Energy Summit, Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, 19th – 21st Jan ‘09 • Envirolink Northwest supporting UKTI Water led mission to Saudi Arabia, 30th January – 4th February ‘09 • Envirolink Northwest supporting UKTI Water led mission to Romania, 19th – 23rd Jan ‘09 • Power-Gen Renewable Energy & Fuels 2008, Las Vegas, February 19th – 21st , ‘09 • Middle East Waste Summit 2009, Dubai, U.A.E, 12 -14 March ‘09 If you would like to find out more about any of these events or about Envirolink Northwest’s international programme please visit or call 01925 813200.

CASE STUDY :VIRIDIAN SYSTEMS Viridian Systems is a Wirral based company that manufactures pneumatic pumps for contaminated land and leachate. The company was referred to Envirolink Northwest by International Trade Advisor Charles Jacobson. Karl advised Managing Director Roger Dixon on opportunities in overseas ETS markets, and in May 2008, Viridian joined a visit to IFAT Munich hosted jointly by Envirolink Northwest, Advantage West Midlands and the French Chamber of Commerce. Enterprise Europe organised meetings with overseas companies, and Viridian met and appointed a Colombian distributor who conducted market research on their behalf, identified companies interested in their products and secured an order in the first four months. Viridian has subsequently received further orders in Latin America, and this month (November) they are attending FIMAI 2008, Latin America’s biggest and most popular environmental trade fair with a view to expanding their business in the region. Managing Director Roger Dixon says, “UK Trade & Investment have been extremely helpful in providing us with support and advice on our international trade strategy. As a result we have been able to develop our business overseas much faster than if we had been trying to tackle new markets alone.” For further information on Envirolink Northwest please visit or call 01925 813200. Viridian Systems can be contacted on 0151 639 8666 or visit Envirolink is funded by the NWDA along with central government departments, the regions’ local authorities and industry.

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IBERIA For many years there has been a vibrant trading relationship between Portugal, Spain and the UK that is even more dynamic today. Iberia is one of the most important export markets for British goods and services in the world, offering abundant opportunities for British companies. In 2007 exports of good and services to Spain were valued at £15 bn and Portugal £2 bn, making these countries the UK's seventh and twenty-third largest export markets worldwide, respectively. British companies have a significant presence in Spain and Portugal and many household names are represented in sectors such as power, transport, engineering, retail, telecommunications and ICT. Commercial relationships between the UK and Spain go from strength to strength. Spain is the second largest country after France in the EU with a population of 46 million. The Spanish government is committed to opening up the Spanish market offering many opportunities to British exporters. Spain is focusing on supporting the fastest growing, high value-added manufacturing and services from the UK, including ICT, Bio-tech, Renewable Energy, Financial services and the Creative Industries sectors. The UK is one of the top three most important business partners for Portugal today, and opportunities exist in a number of sectors from financial services to agri-technology and aquaculture. Since joining the European Union, Portugal and Spain have both been major recipients of structural and cohesion funds, allowing them to invest in large infrastructure projects including developing extensive motorway networks, modernising ports, constructing new bridges and building new international airports.

CASE STUDY : EC CONTRACTS Manchester based Eternity Clothing design, manufacture and supply officially licensed sport casual clothing such as T-shirts, sweatshirts and outdoor jackets for sports clubs. With the help from the International Trade team in UKTI Manchester, Eternity Clothing commissioned an OMIS (Overseas Market Introduction Service) from the UK Trade & Investment team in Spain. Eternity Clothing’s Managing Partner, Mr Neeraj

A MAJOR OPPORTUNITY FOR YOUR BUSINESS IN EUROPE With further EU structural funding likely to be available until 2013, future opportunities for companies exist in projects including the extension of the high-speed rail network further into Spain and across into Portugal, the building of a new airport for Lisbon and the upgrading of several ports across the Iberian Peninsular. The cultural and trading history between the Iberia region and Latin America, has resulted in both countries being important gateways to these huge markets. Portugal has strong links with Brazil, and similar connections between Spain and South America have encouraged British companies to use Spain as their springboard to the Spanish speaking Latin American markets. For companies that wish to do business in Iberia it is important to remember that personal contact and developing a close business relationship are key factors for success. It is essential to visit the markets regularly to develop good working relationships with the Iberian partner. For cultural reasons there is a good level of business English in Portugal and business English is also improving in Spain, particularly in the high tech and financial sectors. The Iberia region offers exciting opportunities for your company. The UK Trade & Investment Iberia team is keen to assist you by targeting two countries as a single market. UKTI staff in the British Embassies and Consulates in Portugal and Spain offer a wide range of services and support for UK companies interested in doing business in Iberia. A significant element of the team’s work is to organise sectoral activities through missions, workshops and seminars, and the Iberia team work closely with the British Chambers of Commerce who are key partners in helping UK companies to do business overseas. More information on the services and support that we can provide can be found on the British Embassy websites and on the UKTI website

CASE STUDY : PASCO SPICES & HERBS Pasco Spices & Herbs, based in Wigan, produce superior quality natural cooking sauces, pastes, chutneys and pickles. They successfully entered the Portuguese market as a result of taking part in the UKTI organised Algarve Food & Drink Roadshow in June 2006. The event gave Pasco the opportunity to meet a range of potential distributors as well as representatives from the main supermarkets in the Algarve and the food services sector. As a result, Pasco found a suitable distributor for their products and started exporting to Portugal. Further success was achieved this year after Pasco Spices & Herbs were invited by the British Ambassador to Portugal, Alex Ellis, to serve up their curries to the 700 guests attending the Queen’s Birthday Party at the Ambassador’s residence in June. Not only did the guests enjoy the curries, but Pasco Spices & Herbs also developed a number of new business opportunities to increase sales to Portugal.

Takiar, commented in July 2008: "The first report was excellent and has given the company a huge amount of information to help formulate a strategy for selling to football clubs in Spain. I would add that OMIS works best when the brief given by the company is very focused.” As a result Eternity are now designing a range of fashion apparel for 2 teams in the Spanish Liga, equivalent to the British Premier League


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CASE STUDY: GREEN MEANS GO FOR NORTH WEST COMPANY North West company ENER-G Systems is one organisation who have managed to nurture business in South Africa, subprimework successfully with local partners and contribute to the environment all at the same time.

In many ways, South Africa is the ideal high growth export and investment market for UK companies. It has a stable business environment, a rigorous legal system and a solid financial structure. South Africa represents just 3% of the continent’s surface area, yet it accounts for approximately 40% of all industrial output, 25% of GDP, over half generated electricity and 45% of mineral production in Africa; and is the most sophisticated free-market economy on the African continent. The UK and South Africa are natural trading partners, with English as the main business language and similar legal systems and business cultures. The UK is one of the three top investors in South Africa, with a strong bilateral trading relationship of over £7 billion in goods and services. In recent years there has been significant investment by household British names such as Barclays Bank, Rolls Royce, Cadbury's, Vodafone, Virgin Mobile and Associated British Foods, demonstrating South Africa’s potential as an investment destination for UK companies. And the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ in South Africa has opened up all manner of opportunities for UK organisations. A range of strategic initiatives has been developed by the South African Government to accelerate development and growth, benefitting the entire population and helping to defeat poverty and the legacy of under-development. This is a country where opportunity outstrips challenge; and with UK Trade & Investment's support UK companies are well positioned to understand the challenges and market


conditions and make the most of opportunities within this energetic economy. Whilst it is difficult to predict the endpoint of the global credit crisis, South Africa appears well placed to avoid the worst consequences of these developments. The domestic financial sector has been relatively unscathed because it has limited exposure to subprime assets and the frenetic round of deleveraging in major economies. Banking sector regulation has been sound and gradual capital account liberalisation has encouraged South African companies to expand offshore in a responsible manner that has minimised the build-up of risky investments. The South African Government, together with the Reserve Bank, continuously monitors the domestic banking and financial system. While there are no signs of stress in the domestic financial sector, the value of the Rand against the major currencies has fluctuated dramatically during the global financial crises, and the authorities remain alert to any undue strains and are willing to take appropriate action should the need arise. Taking into account South Africa’s policy frameworks and the relatively diversified character of the domestic economy, GDP is projected to grow by about 3.7 per cent in 2008 and 3.0 per cent in 2009, before rising to 4.0 per cent in 2010 and 4.3 per cent in 2011.

The Manchester-based business is the lead shareholder in a number of major projects in South African cities to capture methane gas from landfill sites. The gas is converted into electricity sufficient to provide energy for several tens of thousands of homes. ENER-G Systems has about 70% of the landfill gas business in South Africa. Harvesting methane gas for energy is an environmentally friendly alternative to coal as landfill methane is renewable and if left to vent into the atmosphere is 21 times more harmful than CO2. The advanced technology captures methane to fire an internal spark ignition engine. The electricity is then fed into the local grid. An existing landfill site might provide gas for between 10 and 15 years. ENER-G Systems has precisely the kind of UK expertise that deserves exposure on an international platform, which is why they work closely with UK Trade & Investment. Managing Director Hugh Richmond, who sits on the UK Trade & Investment Environmental Services Advisory Group, enlists UK Trade & Investment support whenever the company is focusing on new markets. "Companies should really make themselves aware of the extensive range of services UK Trade & Investment can provide", said Hugh. He added, "We are very proud of our involvement in this initiative which will provide environmentally beneficial technology not currently available in South Africa, as well as enabling local people to participate in skills transfer and training programmes.” For further information please contact the North West International Trade Team Tel: 0845 603 7053 E-mail:

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John Young the Bank of England’s Agent for the North West, explains the latest thinking of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) about prospects for the UK economy. At its November meeting, the Bank’s MPC reduced interest rates by 1½% to 3%, the first time rates had been cut to that level since 1954. In October the MPC had reduced rates by ½% to 4½% as part of a coordinated policy by several of the world’s central banks including the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank. The Bank’s latest Inflation Report, published on 12 November, is available on the Bank’s website at

THE ECONOMIC LANDSCAPE HAS CHANGED It is very likely that the UK economy entered a recession in the second half of this year. Output fell by 0.5% in Q3, which was a little worse than expected in August. But since then, three factors have transformed the outlook. First, timely indicators of economic activity have declined markedly. Business surveys and reports of my Agency colleagues suggested a sharp fall off in demand, both at home and abroad, in September and October. Growth in Q4 is likely to be materially weaker than the MPC expected in August. And unemployment is rising at the fastest rate for 17 years. Second, following the failure of Lehman Brothers in September, the most serious banking crisis since 1914 reduced the supply of credit to businesses and households. Confidence was badly shaken. Third, the inflation outlook has changed radically. Oil and other commodity prices have more than halved since their recent peak and in the space of a few months we have gone from the highest rate of manufacturing input price inflation in nearly 30 years to the lowest monthly rate on record. Also, a key risk highlighted by the Committee earlier this year had been that the sharp increase in CPI inflation might cause companies and households to revise up their

expectations of future inflation. But most measures of inflation expectations have fallen back in recent months.

RECENT ECONOMIC NEWS Investment spending by companies and households has weakened significantly – especially investment in housing – and recent business surveys of investment intentions in plant and machinery have declined markedly. Turning to the world economy and UK exports, the outlook for global activity has deteriorated markedly in recent weeks. The IMF projects activity in the advanced economies contracting next year and growth in the emerging economies slowing sharply. Official data suggest that UK export growth slowed sharply in Q2 while surveys suggest a markedly weaker outlook in the near term. On the bright side, the 17% decline in sterling since July 2007 will improve the price competitiveness of UK exporters which should offset to some degree the weaker outlook for world demand.

OUTPUT SET TO DECLINE IN THE NEAR TERM As usual, the Bank’s forecasts are conditioned on market views of the outlook for interest rates, which in early November were for Bank Rate to

fall to 4% in late 2008 and around 2¾% in the second half of 2009, before picking up again to 4% by 2011. They are also based on the Government’s fiscal policy at that time. On the MPC’s central view, a pronounced slowdown in demand pushes the economy into recession until mid-2009. Nevertheless there is a substantial stimulus from the reductions in interest rates, a gradual expansion in the supply of bank credit as the effects of the authorities’ recapitalisation programme take hold, lower world energy and food prices, the lower level of sterling and a continued expansion in government spending. As a result, GDP begins to recover in the second half of 2009, rising somewhat above its historical average growth rate by 2011. This projection is subject to substantial uncertainties. The slowdown may be deeper and longer lasting if the supply of credit tightens further at home and abroad, if households and companies make bigger balance sheet adjustments (for example by increasing their saving by more than expected) or if there is a larger than assumed rate of job loss. There are also uncertainties over how rapidly and effectively reductions in Bank Rate feed through into higher activity. But the slowdown may be less pronounced than in the central view if bank lending recovers more rapidly, or if there is a stronger stimulus from fiscal policy. If either set of risks were to materialise, the outlook could be materially different from the central projection.

THE INFLATION OUTLOOK Inflation fell back to 4.5% in October and is set to fall sharply in the near term, reflecting the rapid unwinding of these pressures. The precise speed at which inflation declines also depends on the extent to which the sharp fall in sterling is passed through into higher prices. But in the central projection, inflation falls back to the 2% target in the second half of 2009 and then moves materially below the target, reflecting a larger margin of spare capacity in the economy and the waning impact on import prices from the lower level of sterling. As with the GDP projections there are substantial uncertainties around the central projection. The most significant of these relates to the difficulty in forecasting the depth and persistence of the slowdown in demand. There are also marked uncertainties over the degree of spare capacity in the economy and its impact on inflation, prospects for commodity prices and the inflation consequences of the weaker exchange rate. In conclusion, the inflation outlook has changed substantially in recent months. But the Committee’s approach to setting interest rates has not. It continues to set interest rates in a deliberate, forward-looking manner in order to ensure that inflation is on track to hit the inflation target in the medium term. That approach has served the UK economy well over the past eleven years. And the Bank is confident that it will continue to do so in these exceptional and difficult times.


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9 DECEMBER LONDON 2012 FREE SEMINAR AND WORKSHOP Rheged, Penrith - 9.30am - 1pm (see page 2)






16 - 21 FEBRUARY 2009 NW MARKET VISIT TO INDIA Mumbai (see page 10)


MARCH 2009 UK-NORDIC ONCOLOGY CONFERENCE Copenhagen (see page 9)



26 JANUARY 2009 BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES IN MEXICO Old Trafford, Manchester - 1pm - 4.30pm

MEET THE BUYER, HEALTH TECHNOLOGIES Daresbury Park Hotel, Warrington


19 MARCH 2009 26 - 29 JANUARY 2009 ARAB HEALTH EXHIBITION AND CONGRESS Dubai, UAE (see page 3)


20 APRIL 2009 EUROPEAID (WORKSHOP) Ramada Encore, Haydock, St Helens


27 - 30 JANUARY 2009

22 MAY 2009

27 JANUARY 2009


30 JANUARY 2009

MEET THE BUYER, SOUND CITY Liverpool - Venue to be confirmed






0845 603 7053

Win Win, International Business Magazine For North West  

Win Win, International Business Magazine For The North West. Winter 2008 / Spring 2009