By CHRIS GRAEME
THE BRITISH Embassy’s UK Trade & Investment team in Lisbon was praised by that organisation’s vice president for being the best in the world in terms of feedback, organisation and getting things done.
Susan Haird, who was in Lisbon to talk to 80 movers and shakers in the Portuguese business community about the role of the UKTI and the myriad of contract opportunities for Portuguese companies afforded by the 2012 Olympics (please read other story on this page), said that the 10-strong Lisbon team got awarded “five green stars for excellence”.
To mark the occasion, Susan Haird officially opened the new offices for the Trade and Investment team at the British Embassy in Lisbon which was attended by HM Ambassador to Portugal, Alex Ellis and the president of the British-Portuguese Chamber of Commerce, Chris Barton.
In an interview with The Resident, Susan Haird explained that the UKTI’s role was to facilitate and attract business investment from countries into the United Kingdom and from UK businesses abroad through contacts, partnerships and consortiums.
“Portugal is an extremely important market for the UK and the UK is important for Portuguese businesses and we want to stress that there are thousands of contracts up for grabs which we want Portuguese businesses to compete for through competitive tendering bids.
“We are sure that given Portugal’s range of expertise in high technology, security, telecommunications, renewable energy sources and construction that many of these bids can be successful,” she said.
As Deputy Chief Executive of UKTI, Susan Haird is responsible for the International Group and for Strategy and Human Resources ultimately overseeing UKTI offices in nearly 100 countries worldwide.
Her reasons for being in Lisbon were to gain a better understanding of the strong commercial relationship between the UK and Portugal, the Portuguese economy and ways that the two countries can work together to assist their respective economies, especially now given the difficult economic climate.
“There are huge opportunities around the games (Olympics 2012) – building stadia, infrastructure, communications systems and networks, security – and companies that are interested can compete for contracts,” she said.
Susan Haird said that the Lisbon team had achieved “excellent results” in terms of high quality inward investment from Portuguese companies setting up in the United Kingdom and vice versa and added that there were already “several promising leads” from Portuguese companies in the pipeline interested in getting involved in the Olympics.
The UKTI is a vital organisation which promotes open trade and commercial cooperation between companies in hundreds of countries worldwide.
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