Prince Michael of Kent leads British small business delegation to Washington as Brexit looms

Global Dialogue Dinner held on June 26. Left to right Chris Leahy, Intuit; James Holbein, International Trade Commission; H.E. Ashok Mirpuri, Embassy of Singapore; Amb. Stuart Holliday, Meridian International Center; Dr. Christina Sevilla, Office of the United States Trade Representative; H.R.H. Prince Michael of Kent, GCVO Photo credit: Stephen Bobb

While Brexit plans continue to swirl in the UK and the Conservative Party prepares to vote on their next Prime Minister, HRH Prince Michael of Kent led a delegation of British small business advocates to Washington for an understanding of the tools and practices that form the favorable small business climate in the U.S.. Their visit culminated with a salon-style dinner co-hosted by Meridian International Center, Intuit and PPI on Meridian’s campus that brought together U.S. government leaders, the diplomatic community and small business association executives to plot a course on how the U.S. and the UK can maintain and expand positive small business trade and investment policies during this time of uncertainty with the global economy.

Cousin to Queen Elizabeth II and grandson of King George V, Prince Michael contributed to the creation of the Genesis Initiative 20 years ago when he realized “that small business had no voice or support in the United Kingdom” and he has been a steadfast patron ever since. The Genesis Initiative is an umbrella organization for British small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that works across party lines in the House of Lords and Commons to encourage the adoption of policies and practices that allow these businesses to flourish. Among the best received tips raised at the dinner by small and independent business association executives was to apply funds to member mobilization over professional advocacy. Encouraging small business owners and entrepreneurs to run for legislative seats was particularly salient in order to ensure SME interests are well-represented in state and federal legislative bodies.

There was also broad consensus that the U.S.-UK Trade and Investment Working Group has served as an important and effective body in U.S.-UK small business trade relations. Deputy Assistant USTR for Small Business Christina Sevilla is the U.S. lead for Small and Medium Enterprise in the Working Group. She explained that the Working Group has been laying the groundwork for a potential, future free trade agreement once the UK leaves the EU. Established in 2017 by USTR Robert Lighthizer and UK Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox, the Working Group has met five times and will reconvene in Bristol on July 9.

Irish Ambassador H.E. Daniel Mulhall and Singapore’s Ambassador H.E. Ashok Mirpuri offered global perspectives on the enormous contributions of SMEs to their countries, while David Meale, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Trade Policy and Negotiation, shared U.S. approaches to encourage small business trade on both sides of the Atlantic.

Additional attendees included (among others): Brian Binley, former British MP and small business owner; Will Davis, Washington Office Head, OECD; Juanita Duggan, President and CEO, National Federation of Small Business; David Harvey, CEO, Genesis Initiative; James Holbein, Director of the Office of Tariff Affairs and Trade Agreements, U.S. International Trade Commission; Amanda Kalyan, Senior Trade Policy Advisor, Embassy of the United Kingdom; Rob Keast, VP for External Affairs, PPI; Karen Kerrigan, President and CEO, National Federation of Independent Business; Chris Leahy, VP for Global Corporate Affairs, Intuit; Bernie McKay, Chief Public Policy Officer and VP for Global Corporate Affairs, Intuit; and, Judith Pryor, Director, EX-IM Bank.

Meridian President and CEO Ambassador Stuart Holliday facilitated the dialogue, which was held as part of Meridian’s Global Dialogue Series. The British delegation’s Washington program was arranged by PPI.



Project summary

Prince Michael of Kent leads British small business delegation to Washington as Brexit looms | June 2019
Number of Attendees: 25
Regions: Africa, East Asia and Pacific, Europe and Eurasia
Countries: Ireland, Singapore, United Kingdom, Zambia
Impact Areas: Business and Trade, Foreign Policy
Program Areas: Diplomacy
Partners: NGOs, Private Sector