Mayor looks to strengthen US ties during visit to East Coast cities

06 February 2015

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson is leading a six day trade mission to America's East Coast, aimed at strengthening economic and cultural ties between London and the United States.

The visit, which begins this weekend, will see the Mayor meet with senior public officials and top business leaders in Boston, New York City and Washington, DC, in a bid to ensure that London continues to grow as the key European destination for US investment, tourism and higher education.

During the visit the Mayor wants to consolidate collaboration between London and the United States around life sciences, tech, business, policing, culture and the arts.

The US is one of the UK's most important international partners. London exports to the United States are worth around £4 billion a year alone and there are now 9,392 US owned companies in the capital. With nearly 30,000 US students London is the most popular city in the world for Americans studying abroad.

The US is also London's most valuable market for tourists. In the first nine months of 2014 the number of US visitors totalled 1.6 million and their spending increased to £1.2 billion.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: 'The United States is a hugely important trading partner for London, offering massive opportunities for investment in this country and for businesses wanting to expand internationally. I want London to capitalise on the great relationships we have in Boston, New York City, and Washington DC. As well as exploring the creativity and innovation that will be key to our future success I particularly want to maximise the opportunities presented by London based TechCity and MedCity. With our long history I also see the visit as an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to the warm friendship that exists between Londoners and our American cousins.'

A key focus of the Mayor's mission will be to promote London as a centre of innovation, particularly in the fields of technology and the life sciences, as well as culture and creativity.

In Boston and New York, the Mayor will be joined by delegations of senior business figures from London's tech and life science sectors and, as part of the Mayor's successful Export Programme, two delegations of small and medium sized London firms from these industries will be showcasing their talents and pitching for new business in the United States.

During his first stop in Boston, the Mayor will visit Harvard University's Stem Cell Institute to champion increased collaboration between London and Boston, which are both world-leading cities for life sciences research, development and commercialisation. He will be joined by representatives from MedCity, the organisation he set up last year to boost the life science sector in London and the South East.

He will also tour the One Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which specialises in nanotechnology, where he will meet with scientists at the forefront of their fields of research, before giving a keynote speech on innovation to an audience of scientists and students at the internationally renowned university.

The Mayor is set to be shown the impact of the Big Dig in Boston, a massive infrastructure project that saw elevated highway put underground, transforming the streetscape to open up public spaces and make the historic city more pedestrian-friendly.

The Mayor wants to find out how some of the lessons learned from this project might be applicable to London's future transport planning. In New York, the Mayor will meet with Mayor Bill de Blasio at City Hall where the two men are expected to discuss enhanced co-operation between London and New York.

Mayor Johnson will hold talks with the city's Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, who will show the Mayor how the city's police department is using the latest technology to tackle crime and respond to heightened fears about terrorism.

The Mayor will pay his respects at the 9/11 Memorial and visit the New York Fire Department Ten House, home to the first responders to the 2001 terrorist attacks on the city.

As part of the Mayor's efforts to promote London as a leading tech centre he will meet with entrepreneurs at a showcase event in New York City being organised with the capital's promotional agency London & Partners, bringing together representatives of start-up companies and other innovative tech companies making waves on both sides of the Atlantic.

The Mayor will also join the 18 universities that form the London Universities International Partnership during an event in New York with US and UK education leaders and alumni. London and New York are known around the world as the leading centres of culture and creativity – both are members of the World Cities Culture Forum – and the Mayor will take part in high profile events highlighting British creative talent and continuing cultural exchange between the two cities.

This includes a celebration of culture and creativity organised by the Society of London Theatre and New York Public Library at the Lincoln Centre.

In Washington, the Mayor will meet senior representatives from the Smithsonian Institution's Board of Regents, following the announcement last week that it is to open talks on becoming part of the 'Olympicopolis' project, the new university and cultural district on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London.

The Mayor will also take part in a public discussion at the internationally renowned think-tank the Brookings Institution, where he and the Mayor of San Diego Kevin Faulconer will debate the challenges of governing global cities for growth.

The Mayor's trade mission is supported by London & Partners, UKTI, and the British Embassy in Washington DC, as well as the British Consulates in Boston and New York City.


Notes to editors

1. The Mayor is supporting two Mayor's Export Programme led missions to New York City and Boston comprising of 22 of London's leading FinTech companies, who will be participating in a busy week of pitching and business opportunity meetings. There will also be 19 Life Science companies who will be attending the BIO US CEO conference for two days of jam packed partnering meetings before heading to Boston to meet with the Life Science cluster.

2. Delegation list: London Tech Ambassadors Group: Claire Cockerton – CEO Pivotal Innovations; Eileen Burbidge – Partner Passion Capital; Gavin Poole – CEO Here East (formerly iCity); Russ Shaw – Founder, Tech London Advocates; Derek White – Chief Design Officer, Barclays; Gerard Grech – CEO of Tech City UK. Medcity: Prof Sir John Tooke - Chair of UCLPartners; Prof Richard Trembath - Queen Mary's VP Health Faculty; Prof‎ Paul Workman, CEO of the Institute of Cancer Research; Prof Reza Razavi, Director of Research for Kings College Academic Health Science Centre; Sarah Haywood, COO MedCity.

3. London tech companies travelling to Boston & New York as part of the delegation include: Accountagility – Algomi – Azimo – CloudMargi – Derivitec – Digital Shadows – Elliptic – Essentia Analytics – FundApps – HedgePo – Iwoca – Krescendo – LMAX Exchange - Market IQ – Prophis Technologies – QuanTemplate – Remitia – Seedrs - Squirrel Financial Wellbeing – Sybenetix – YuDo Global – Zopa

4. London Life Science companies travelling to New York & Boston as part of the delegation include: Abcodia Ltd Accountagility – deltaDOT Ltd Accountagility – Desktop Genetics Accountagility – Diabetology Ltd – Genetic Microdevices Ltd – Imanova Ltd – Leucid Bio Ltd – Microsens Biotechnologies – peptinnovate – Pharmidex Pharmaceutical Services Ltd – PHASTAR – Precious Cells International – Progenitor Therapeutics – QuantuMCx Group Ltd – Safeguard Biosystems Holdings Ltd – Stirling Anglian Pharmaceuticals Ltd – SYNthesis med chem – Therakind Ltd – Touchlight Genetics Ltd

5. The Mayors Export Programme The Mayor of London's export team are playing a key role in helping small and medium sized enterprises in the Capital take advantage of foreign markets, working alongside UKTI to deliver the programme. 580 businesses have already been engaged through trade missions, events, workshops and the team has taken 70 businesses overseas on trade missions. The Mayors Export Programme is focussed on ensuring small and medium sized businesses know about opportunities overseas and access services to help them succeed at home and abroad.

6. MedCity was launched by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson in April 2014 with the aim of transforming the life sciences sector in London and the greater south east into a world-leading cluster for research, development, enterprise and commercialisation. It aims to provide a single branded front door for industry and investors, foster an environment that supports and encourages entrepreneurialism and commercialisation and attract significant investment into the sector and the region.

7. TechCity started life in 2010, with a mission to support the emerging Silicon Roundabout tech cluster in East London. Anchored in Shoreditch, London it has grown into an organisation that delivers programmes focused on accelerating the growth of digital businesses, in London and cities across the UK, at all stages of their development. Examples include Future Fifty, Digital Business Academy and theInternet of Things Launch Pad. A publicly funded organisation with a private sector mentality, TechCity also provides a voice of advocacy for digital entrepreneurs. It feeds back its findings to policy-makers to influence change and is dedicated to fostering the right conditions to start, grow and scale a digital business in the UK. The aim is to make life better for digital entrepreneurs.

8. US visitors are coming to London in increasing numbers. The US market is London’s most valuable in terms of both visits and spend and this is backed up in the latest figures released on 16th January 2015 by the United Kingdom government's Office for National Statistics. Visits from the USA totalled 1.6 million for the first nine months of 2014 an increase of 6.5 per cent when compared to the same period in 2013. Spending by US visitors increased to over £1.2 billion during the first nine months of 2014 an increase of 7.5 per cent when compared to the same period in 2013.

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