VIP Welcome Reception & Lunch for Emma Wade-Smith

On Wednesday, March 9, 2022 the BABCPHL welcomed Emma Wade-Smith OBE, Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for North America and HM Consul General New York, for her first official visit to Philadelphia. The day began with a private meeting at City Hall with James Kenney, The Honorable Mayor of Philadelphia. Mayor Kenney and Emma spoke about: UK investment in the region; the Free Trade Agreement; post-Brexit UK and US relations; the power of cities; sustainability and climate change; the Platinum Jubilee; and the June Safe To Be Me Global Equality Conference. As both countries move into the “all clear” stage of the pandemic, and return to business and life as usual, the UK’s leveling up agenda and the US’ building back better campaigns along with favorite UK and US sports teams, food, and culture were also topics of conversation. Following the meeting with Mayor Kenney, Emma was the BABCPHL’s special guest at a by invitation only VIP reception and lunch sponsored by CIGNA Corporation. Neil Boyden Tanner, SVP and General Counsel for Finance, Strategy and International Markets at CIGNA welcomed everyone to the Company’s Philadelphia office. As Neil stated, it was a day of “firsts” – Emma’s first official visit to the City of Philadelphia since she assumed her role in November 2021, and the first in-person BABCPHL meeting in many months.

The US and the UK are the “greatest allies in the world.” Our region has always received British government officials, diplomats, royalty and business leaders with open arms. BABCPHL timely discussions about the current and growing commercial relationship between the US and the UK keep members informed about important matters. These events enable us to build networks, determine next steps, and ultimately lead to successful business operations throughout the vital transatlantic corridor.

After welcoming guests and brief introductory remarks, Neil invited Oliver St. Clair Franklin OBE, Honorary British Consul for Greater Philadelphia, to say a few words and introduce Emma, our guest of honor. Prior to her current appointment, Emma spent nearly six years leading the UK Government’s pan-African regional trade and investment team, as Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for Africa. Before moving into the world of trade and investment, Emma worked at the British Embassy in Washington D.C. as the UK’s Counsellor for Foreign and Security Policy. This came on the heels of a two year stint leading the UK Government’s International Crisis Response Team. She was awarded an OBE by Her Majesty The Queen for her work helping British Nationals to safety from hot spots all around the world. Emma has had a distinguished career as a British Diplomat spanning more than two decades, with postings to Mexico and Chile as well as secondments to the United Nations in New York; the European Commission in Brussels; and the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills where she worked on international trade. In her current role as HM Trade Commissioner for North America, Emma oversees all Department for International Trade work in North America including: growing the overall bilateral trade and investment relationship; improving market access for British companies, including small and medium sized businesses (SMEs); and developing finance and trade policy. She also works closely with the wider diplomatic network and UK based colleagues to coordinate HMG activity on the wider prosperity agenda. Emma is the senior UK official at the Consulate General new York, representing the UK government and responsible for consular, visa and trade activities in her jurisdiction. The Consul General leads the government’s work promoting UK economic, commercial, political and consular interests in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Fairfield County, Connecticut.

In her first BABCPHL in-person address, Emma spoke briefly about the strong relationship between the UK and the Greater Philadelphia region. She presented trade and investment statistics highlighting the vibrancy of commerce throughout the corridor. Emma also touched upon priority sectors and key areas of growth, as well as HMG’s approach to working at both the national and sub-national levels across the US.

A lively question and answer session including comments related to the Free Trade Agreement, global minimum corporate tax, and global mobility, among other subjects followed Emma’s remarks. Dialogue was going strong long after the meeting officially ended. The BABCPHL extends very special thanks to Emma and her team for coming to Philadelphia, and to Neil Boyden Tanner and his CIGNA colleagues for sponsoring and hosting our Group.

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The BABCPHL recognizes our Club Level Members:

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  • American Airlines
  • Baker Tilly
  • Cigna
  • Cigna
  • Duane Morris
  • EisnerAmper LLP
  • Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP
  • Forensic Resolutions
  • Johnson, Kendall & Johnson, Inc.
  • Johnson Matthey
  • Morgan Lewis
  • Olympus
  • Penn Medicine
  • Welsh Government