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Mark Francis Brzezinski was chosen and confirmed as the new U.S. Ambassador to Sweden by President Obama on October 18, 2011. Two months after the announcement Swedish-American Chambers of Commerce had the opportunity to address his plans for the future and his thoughts on the trade relations between the U.S. and Sweden.
1. How would you describe your plans to engage in U.S.-Swedish trade and investment?
First, I would like to start by saying that I am very happy to be here in Sweden and am honored to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to this beautiful country. Knowing that our relation in general – and our trade and investment relations in particular – are strong, I look forward to further expanding and deepening the relations in this area. I plan to personally meet with companies both in Sweden and the United States, so that I can learn first-hand about opportunities for bilateral partnerships – for U.S. companies to find an export market in Sweden and for Swedish companies planning investments in the United States. I also plan to meet and interact with organizations such as the Swedish American Chambers of Commerce to build on our common goals of increasing trade and investment between countries.
2. Michael Wood orchestrated One Big Thing and Mathew Barzun developed this into SAGA cooperation. Will you carry on the alternative energy work?
My predecessors were indeed both very successful in developing the great potential for U.S.-Swedish partnerships in the areas of renewable energy, cleantech, and sustainability. Being a strong supporter of nature and the environment I will indeed continue these efforts. The One big Thing highlighted the mutual benefit that can come from connecting innovative cleantech companies in Sweden and the United States. SAGA expanded our partnership efforts to also include scientific research, and sharing of best practices on sustainability policies – particularly between Swedish and American cities. So many great things have already come out of cooperation in this area that we must not only continue it, but deepen it. I recenetly hosted U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu in Stockholm. We send him a report every month on the interesting things happening in U.S.-Sweden sustainability collaboration that we publish on the SAGA web platform. He noted that SAGA is a model for the kind of practical, results-oriented, international cooperation the United States is seeking under President Obama to increase energy security, and seize the commercial and job-creation opportunities of the coming low-carbon economy.
Are there any specific areas of policy where you would like the U.S. government to work more closely with Sweden and vice versa?
Well, I have noted that we have a pretty substantial trade deficit with Sweden, so I would like to work both with Sweden, and American companies, to see what we can do to achieve a bit more balance in our trade. I think that there is also a lot that Sweden and the United States could do together in our mutual interest to advocate for common global standards for clean technology to help our companies export, and to accelerate the provision of clean technologies to developing countries so that they can grow their economics in a more economical and environmentally efficient way. Of course, the United States and Sweden should work together on any policy issues that facilitates business between our two countries and to help build out partnerships in trade around the world.
3. What do you believe are the three most important measures that the U.S. should undertake in order to stay in line with the National Export initiative? How will you contribute to this work?
To meet the President´s NEI goal of doubling exports by the end of 2014, we need to reach out to the small and medium sized companies to assist them in becoming export ready, and to assist them in opening new markets for U.S. goods worldwide, while at the same time maintaining contacts with our already established markets. During my tenure as Ambassador to Sweden I plan to take an active part in meeting with both American and Swedish companies to learn about their experiences and views on trade between our two countries, to learn about trade and investment opportunities and also about barriers to trade. I will work closely with the Embassy´s Commercial Section and organizations such as the Swedish American Chambers of Commerce in these endeavors.
Article originally published on Currents Online.
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