It is an honour and a privilege to introduce myself as the new President of Trade Promotion Europe. I thank the members and board for their support, and promise to make every effort to build on the achievements to date in order to deliver real value to our members.
Trade promotion organisations have a unique relationship with national exporting companies. Mandated by their respective ministries, trade promotion organisations support exporters in their internationalisation journey by providing specific and tailored services. Trade Promotion Europe today has 27 members, representing a network of 90 national contact points, 157 offices in the European Union and 450 offices worldwide.
For me it is difficult to achieve anything without clarity, and so my first task was to lead the board in clarifying our vision and our mission:
The vision of Trade Promotion Europe is for every internationally ambitious company in the EU to reach its full export potential, irrespective of its size within and outside the single market.
The mission of Trade Promotion Europe is to empower European trade promotion organisations to optimise support and the business ecosystem for their exporting companies. Trade Promotion Europe engages as one voice with EU policy makers to effect change where required and facilitates productive collaboration among its members to achieve this.
I hope that these statements will resonate with you. They will form the basis of our manifesto, which will outline what we will work to deliver to realise our ultimate vision. We look forward to unveiling this manifesto in our next newsletter.
Since joining us in September, our Secretary General, Pascale Rouhier, has been busy on a number of key projects and activities, supported by Jon Salegi and Itsasne Murua in our secretariat:
- Developing relationships with stakeholders and organising meetings with the European Commission (DG GROW, DG TRADE, DG AGRI, DG INTPA), their agencies (EU Japan Centre for Industrial Co-operation, EU SME Centre in China, EISMEA) and others (European business organisations, European economic and social committees). Many of these meetings were also attended by myself, another board member and/or a committee chair.
- Our first masterclass programme for member employees, led by Dr. Joe Schembri, will commence on March 1st. As a result of the enthusiastic response, we were oversubscribed for the classes and hope that this pilot programme will be just the first of many.
- Building relationships with trade and agricultural promotion agencies who are not yet members of Trade Promotion Europe. Soon we hope to welcome a number of new members.
- Preparation for our annual conference in May.
Our three committees have also been very active, with the strong support of our Secretary General. TPE was recognised as an official member of the Civil Dialogue Group of DG Agri in the Quality Promotion Group and the International Affairs Group, and the APC, chaired by Declan Coppinger, will be leading on these.The Agricultural Promotion Committee, chaired by Declan Coppinger, was recognised as an official member of the Civil Dialogue Group of DG Agri in the Quality Promotion Group and the International Affairs Group. The EUIDC, chaired by Catherine Jurovsky, has been renamed the Institutions Committee and has been busy responding to consultations from the Commission. The TPO Collaboration Committee, chaired by Elena Pavei, has been reviewing and restructuring our annual benchmarking survey in order to optimise its value. You can read about the committees’ work in more detail in the following pages of the newsletter.
It has been a busy (but enjoyable) start. I thank the board, the committees and our stakeholders for their engagement, and, of course, our secretariat for their commitment and hard work. I hope that you support the direction we are taking. To our members, I would encourage you to participate in the committees and working groups, as well as in our Members’ Zone, in order to ensure your voice is heard and to enable us to represent your views and needs with our stakeholders.
Please do not hesitate to contact me at any time with any suggestions or concerns you might have.
Go n-éirí on bóthar linn (“May the road rise to meet us”)