Events

Secretary of State for Wales Philadelphia Visit

British American Business Council for Greater Philadelphia

Secretary of State for Wales Philadelphia Visit

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP

Recap

On Tuesday, February 13, 2018 the BABCPHL welcomed the Secretary of State for Wales, the Right Honourable Alun Cairns for an official visit to Philadelphia. Mr. Cairns was joined by two Board of Trade Advisers: former Chairman of Cardiff Airport and Welsh Development Agency, Lord Rowe-Beddoe and the Chief of Staff for Manchester Airport Group, Collette Roche.  This visit was part of a three-day trade mission to Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey.  The purpose of this trip was to attract American businesses to invest in Wales and build upon an already strong trading relationship between the two nations; the US is the UK’s largest trading partner.

Under Chatham House Rules, Mr. Cairns candidly spoke with a select group of BABCPHL member companies at Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP’s board room overlooking the Benjamin Franklin Parkway about: UK trade policy; Brexit; UK politics; reasons for investing in the UK; and the new industrial policy that was just released. In addition to speaking with a select group of BABCPHL members during this exclusive lunch, Mr. Cairns, Lord Rowe-Beddoe and Ms. Roche also met with companies operating across various industry sectors throughout the tristate region.

The Right Honorable Alun Cairns was appointed Secretary of State for Wales on March 19, 2016. He was elected as Conservative MP for the Vale of Glamorgan in May 2010, and re-elected in 2015.  Mr. Cairns attended the University of Wales and has a Master’s Degree in Business Administration.  His extensive political career includes: Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Wales and a Government Whip from July 2014 to March 2016; appointment to Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Wales Office in 2014; election as MP for the Vale of Glamorgan 2010; and election as Assembly Member to the Welsh Assembly in 1999.  Before being elected to the Welsh Assembly, Mr. Cairns worked for Lloyds Bank for more than 10 years, mostly in business development, with his last role in financial services compliance.  Mr. Cairns lives in his constituency with his wife and their son.  His father was a welder in British Steel and his mother was a shop-keeper.  He enjoys running and has completed four London Marathons in aid of local charities.  He was the fastest MP to complete the 26 mile course in 2015!

It’s a good thing Mr. Cairns is a runner because as Secretary of State he is accountable for quite a lot, especially during this time of great change. The Secretary of State for Wales is responsible for the overall strategic direction of the Wales Office.  Mr. Cairns’ responsibilities include: overall strategic direction; constitutional and electoral issues; economy and business; budget; infrastructure; foreign affairs; steel; Swansea City Deal/Tidal Lagoon; North Wales Growth Deal/North Wales transport modernization; broadcasting; and exiting the EU.

We find ourselves at a crossroad of major change to the geopolitical landscape. We are pleased Mr. Cairns and his team selected Philadelphia as an important stop on their trade mission itinerary.  The candid discussion and open dialogue was an outstanding opportunity to learn from an insider about what to anticipate post-Brexit.  The Secretary of State wanted to hear from regional business leaders about their questions and concerns regarding UK/US trade.

Special thanks to Ross Allen, Director, Department for International Trade, North America and Deputy Consul General in New York, Department for International Trade, British Consulate-General New York for collaborating with us on this important visit, and to Jason Gosselin, BABCPHL Secretary and Club Level Member from Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP for hosting the meeting.

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The BABCPHL recognizes our Club Level Members:

  • Almac
  • American Airlines
  • Bartlett
  • Cigna
  • Deloitte
  • Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP
  • Duane Morris
  • EisnerAmper LLP
  • HSBC
  • Johnson, Kendall & Johnson, Inc.
  • McConnell Johnson Real Estate
  • Morgan Lewis
  • Law Firm of Pepper Hamilton
  • TD Bank
  • United Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic