24 Apr 2018
Glasgow Chamber of Commerce today (Monday April 23) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), a formal co-operation agreement, with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Berlin.
The deal, the outcome of earlier discussions between the two organisations, is designed to give members mutual access to companies in Scotland and Germany’s biggest cities, with the aim of developing trade relationships and maximising business opportunities.
The cities are co-hosts in August of the inaugural European Championships, a multi-sport event bringing together some of the continent’s leading sports, with Berlin hosting the athletics and Glasgow the other five sports.
The Championships will see a potential audience of over 1.03 billion TV viewers across the continent and an even larger audience via digital platforms consciously linking the two cities.
Glasgow Chamber of Commerce president Jim McHarg, chief executive Stuart Patrick and deputy chief executive Richard Muir travelled to Berlin to sign the MOU, with president Dr Beatrice Kramm and general director Jan Eder ratifying the agreement for Berlin Chamber.
The visit coincided with the Scottish Government’s launch of a trade and investment hub in the German capital.
The MOU commits the two Chambers to utilising the Championships as an opportunity to maximise business opportunities including exploring potential trade missions between Berlin and Glasgow/Central Scotland during the European Championships and the mutual promotion of Made In Glasgow and Made in Berlin products to new audiences. In addition, the MOU seeks to share professional experiences in tackling important economic issues such as the provision of opportunities for the young.
Stuart Patrick said: “"The signing of this agreement could not have come at a more appropriate time, with the uncertainty that the Brexit vote has brought to future trading relationships with Europe.
“Glasgow Chamber’s Board took the view that, whatever the outcomes from the negotiations, we should do our best to strengthen trading ties wherever we could, and this agreement shows that we are on the front foot in maintaining business links with Europe and not sitting back waiting on others to make decisions.
“It follows on from earlier MOUs with The British Chamber of Commerce for Italy in Milan and Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, as well as a growing relationship with our counterpart in Nuremberg, and we are actively seeking further such formal links with business organisations in other overseas cities both in Europe and beyond.”
Jan Eder said: “It is in fact not a novelty for a sporting event to become a footboard for further cooperation between peoples. Like the Greeks back then in 776 BC, Berlin and Glasgow jumped at the opportunity of a sporting event such as the European Championships to strengthen their ties.
“In times of Brexit it has become even more important to encourage bilateral collaboration on national and regional level, and very important on the level of metropolitan regions. The Metropolitan Chambers are the right players to defy the negative consequences of this regrettable separation and to make a positive contribution in the months and years ahead.
“That is why the Chamber of Industry and Commerce of Berlin is glad about transporting the right accents by signing the Letter of Understanding (MOU) with our partners in Scotland.”