Dear Members and Friends,

The Middle-East and Brexit formed the main focus across the Strategy International membership events this week.


The Ambassador for the State of Kuwait and Dean of the Diplomatic Corps H.E. Khaled Al-Duwaisan, the longest-serving foreign Ambassador in London, held a reception on Thursday for Kuwait’s national day. Strategy International’s Chairman, Peter O’Kane along with many members were in attendance. At a time of a fair amount of tension in the region it’s always good to have wise and experienced heads such as His Excellency’s.


Back in Grafton Street, BEI welcomed the Iraqi Ambassador, H.E. Dr Salih Husain Ali as he discussed UK-Iraq bi-lateral relations and the trade opportunities for British Businesses. The session included sound bites on key take-aways from the Iraqi Reconstruction conference held in Kuwait last week. As a follow up, on 14 March we have invited UK Export Finance along with two companies operating in Iraq and able to share on the ground experience of doing business in Iraq. 

The D Group welcomed confirmed ‘remainer’ Anna Soubry just as HMG issued its aims for the Brexit transition period, triggering a lively debate about whether the UK can truly ‘leave’ if it can’t freely negotiate its own trade agreements during this 2 year + period. Its publication was preceded by a strong letter from 63 MPs requiring the exact opposite.  There is a key meeting at Chequers this weekend. Watch this space .....


Looking ahead to next week… A BEI trade mission to Kyrgyzstan will start off the week, being only the second ever UK trade mission to the country. The mission led by Alexandra Barnes, having taken on the CATBIG mantle following Nigel’s retirement, will focus on; education, mining, IT, media, law and technology. 

There is a meeting on Tunisia with some specific infrastructure opportunities for British Business, including ports, rail, bridges, roads, desalination facilities and more.


Following his recent visit to Lima, DIT’s Andrew Bacchus, Head of Sports Economy will host a roundtable discussion on the 2019 Sixth Pan and Parapan American Games with ‘hot off the press’ updates on opportunities for British companies in supporting the delivery of the games.


The D Group will welcome Alex Chisholm, the Perm Sec at BEIS, to discuss the department’s progress on the Industrial Strategy and our associated research group, The British Foreign Policy Group continues its programme of regional engagement with a visit to Leeds. For those unfamiliar with BFPG’s exceptional work in stimulating a national discussion on the UK’s foreign policy choices do read their latest report.

For these and other upcoming activities, visit our events page for more details and registration.


With Best Wishes


Derrick Sanyahumbi, Director, Government - Prosperity and International Development

Event highlights:

Tuesday 6th March – D Group Lunch
Is Labour the new one nation party?
Phillip Blond, Director of ResPublica

Wednesday 14th March – BEI Meeting
Iraq: Doing Business Update
Gordon Welsh, UK Export Finance - Tom Carlvert, Confluent Law - Allison Wood, Control Risks

Wednesday 21st March – D Group Lunch
IoT disrupting the way industries are delivering their product & services  age
Deborah Sherry is the Senior Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer of GE Digital in Europe