Northern Powerhouse could help UK become ‘Singapore on steroids’, says US trade lawyer

Frank Samolis, co-chair of international trade at law firm Squire Patton Boggs,
Frank Samolis, co-chair of international trade at law firm Squire Patton Boggs,
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A LEADING US trade lawyer has said that the North of England can help to turn the UK into “Singapore on steroids”, by making sure its voice is heard in the US.

Frank Samolis, co-chair of international trade at law firm Squire Patton Boggs, believes the Northern Powerhouse should make every effort to raise awareness of its assets and capabilities in the wake of Prime Minister Theresa May’s first visit to meet President Donald Trump.

Mr Samolis, who enjoys a high profile in Washington political circles after spending time in the US Congress, said: “There is a new pro-business administration here and right now there is a lot of interest in US-UK trade. People are starting to realise here, and in the UK, that Brexit may not be all that terrible and maybe the UK can become this “Singapore on steroids”, as it has been described.

“It is a great sign that the Prime Minister was the first foreign leader at President Trump’s table, but the challenge will be how best to capitalise on that. Remember, Trump, even before he was elected, said his first priority on trade was to negotiate a free trade agreement with the UK. Both countries seem to be warmly embracing the special relationship, so raising the visibility of Northern Powerhouse, on the back of all this good feeling, is very much something that is achievable.”

Mr Samolis, who is an expert on international trade law, policy, legislation and negotiations, said: “The challenge, firstly, is to get people to recognise and become familiar with the Northern Powerhouse and secondly to actually spend some time and resources exploring what the advantages are for US business and how to differentiate it from London. Northern Powerhouse could organise investment missions to the region and present here in Washington. There are a number of think tanks and groups that focus on trade and this would be an ideal forum to have a speaker on what differentiates the Northern Powerhouse from anywhere else in the UK.”

How the Northern Powerhouse can help maximise international trade is to be discussed by Squire Patton Boggs’ expert Andrew Herring in a key session at the 2017 UK Northern Powerhouse International Conference and Exhibition event in Manchester next month.

The UK Northern Powerhouse International Conference and Exhibition is supported by business leaders from across the major cities of the North. It will include interactive sessions with top firms such as Nissan, Cisco and Stobart Group, as well as the Confederation of British Industry, Institute of Directors and Federation of Small Businesses.

The conference is the biggest cross sectoral gathering of Northern businesses in the UK. It will be held in Manchester Central on February 21 and 22 and is expected to attract more than 3,000 delegates over two days.

Gareth Harris of RSM Restructuring Advisory LLP

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