- From left to right: Sweden’s Ambassador to the USA Jonas Hafström, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and US Ambassador to Sweden Mark Brzezinski. US Ambassador to Sweden Mark Brzezinski joins Sweden’s Ambassador to the USA Jonas Hafstrom in welcoming Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell to Sweden to promote trade and commerce.
President Obama and Secretary Clinton have been clear: Economic Statecraft and commercial diplomacy are a priority for every section in our Embassy. The overlay between the commercial context and the strategic context has never been closer. It’s about building jobs and conveying American values. Every single job we create is a step in the right direction. This is why US Embassy Stockholm is so pleased to welcome Governor of Virginia Bob McDonnell to Sweden.
An American state’s CEO can be a deal closer, can convey better than most the unique combination that a state can offer in terms of infrastructure, tax benefits, public education and other qualities can combine to create a perfect opportunity for a Swedish investment in America.
Swedish Ambassador to the United States Jonas Hafström flew in for the Governor’s visit, and the Swedish Embassy in Washington collaborated in a highly effective fashion to make the case for Swedish investments in the United States.
US Embassy Stockholm’s commercial section (led by the able Frank Carrico) worked for months with the State of Virginia’s Economic Development office to develop a program whereby the Governor, his Secretary of Agriculture, and the state’s office for travel and tourism could meet with Swedish executives in banking, building and construction, infrastructure, agriculture (from wine to wood pellets), aerospace and defense, truck vehicles, industrial parts, logistics management, offshore windmills, biotech equipment, legal and accounting services, and travel and tourism operators to make a strong case for an investment in America. Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) in The Hague, along with AmCham Sweden and SACC-USA, also helped pull in decision-making executives with strong interest in Virginia. Very important for the Governor’s visit was the work of our Embassy Public Affairs Section in setting up an interview with Dagens Industri, the Wall Street Journal of Sweden. Results from the visit will be followed carefully by Embassy Stockholm.
Governor McDonnell and the First Lady of Virginia Maureen McDonnell met with business titans in Stockholm, including Jacob Wallenberg, a distant cousin of the famous Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg (who chose not to be indifferent during World War II and saved thousands of Hungarian Jews).
Building jobs and economic growth is a full time job – I was very pleased our Embassy’s Foreign Commercial Service (FCS) section worked so well with the Governor’s office and the Swedish Embassy in Washington to ferret out business leads. We live in a globally interdependent economy, and building jobs and trade between countries can be advanced ably by state governors.