Dear Members and Friends,

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A week of D Group member events, ranging over the tensions on the Korean peninsula, the challenges facing the UK infrastructure sector and President Macron’s progress in reforming France’s labour market.

BBC leading journalist Jane Corbin, who recently reported for Panorama on North Korea, took us through an analysis of what is happening and the likely direction of travel. Whilst combined women’s ice hockey teams and unified flags are welcome thawing in north/south tensions, the Kim regime’s nuclear agenda is an inescapable and major source of concern, whether aiming at Japan and the US or assisting other nations with their programmes.

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Barclays and D Group welcomed leading executives to Grafton St to a Barclay’s transport sector initiative to listen to the newly appointed chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, Sir John Armitt, an old friend of ‘D’. Some familiar themes, but none the less hugely relevant ones, had a very engaged and robust airing, as well as a fair amount of discussion around UK procurement and its impact on the future of the domestic UK infrastructure sector.

On Thursday member Squire Patton Boggs hosted a fascinating audience with Pierre-Andre Imbert the driving force behind the Macron agenda of major labour market reform and social transformation. A heavily funded Euro 57bn programme is being rolled out with vigour. More collaborative and inclusive than the wrenches of the Thatcher years designed to drive UK competitiveness, but not without similar challenges facing down embedded ways of doing things.

A reminder to all D Group members that we have a revised programme of engaging with the new faces in Cabinet and their key civil servants, as follows;

28/2/18: Alex Chisholm, Permanent Secretary, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy 

15/3/18: NEW. The Rt Hon Esther McVey MP, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. 

22/3/18: NEW. The Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP, Secretary of State for Education .

25/4/18: NEW. Philip Rycroft, Permanent Secretary at the Department for Exiting the European Union .

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BEI’s week was exceptionally busy...

Bringing the week to a close, our Chair, Peter O’Kane, whilst in Dubai on Wednesday, visited Arab Health, the largest global health sector conference. He reports a pretty impressive array of advanced UK medical equipment manufacturers and medical software developers and in particular impressive showings from a number of the cities, and regions where D Group will be holding events later this year, notably Leeds, Sheffield, Newcastle, the Midlands and all the devolved administrations.

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Derrick Sanyahumbi, Director, Government - Prosperity and International Development