US connections seek big future
for little Rock

by PANORAMA reporter
The Gibraltar American Chamber of Commerce has been holding meetings at the Sunborn Floating Hotel to enhance business connections between local and US companies.

Nearly 160 bilateral meetings will be held over two days to connect 27 local companies with 22 foreign companies, with announcements on closed agreements to be made at the end of today.

"Gibraltar is a small nation, but our people think big," said Chief Minister Fabian Picardo. "That is why we want to reach out to the greatest trading nation in the world and show them that Gibraltar is an interesting place to establish commercial links with."

He referred to the investments made by Nynex to make Gibraltar "the online gaming capital of the world, the silicon valley of remote gaming innovation and the Las Vegas of the virtual world". He said we could thus showcase the Nynex product to the EU and that this is a role that we could play for other US and international companies.

"Already we are the only jurisdiction that we know off at least where the top politician is driven around, not in a fossil fuel burning juggernaut but in a Tesla," continued the CM. "What better example than that of a US product that demonstrates both American ingenuity and is identified with energy conservation. Gibraltar is the perfect place to prove that particular technology."

Two societies

Meanwhile, the President of the Gibraltar Amcham James Lasry said he was a product of both societies. "My mother's family has been in Gibraltar for over a hundred years and on my father's side I am a fourth generation American. I grew up in New York but lived here for the past 15 years. I have a deep love for both societies and the principles of freedom and liberty they both espouse."

Lasry said there was a lot in common between the two societies. "As we were brainstorming together about how to encourage business relations between United States and Gibraltar, Jorge Brown suggested that we organise a trade mission to Gibraltar," said Lasry. "Moreover I wasn't sure that this initiative would enjoy local support. Sometimes, however, when your intentions are good and they follow up with good ideas and good people, they turn out right."

Ken Salazar, 50th US Secretary of the Interior, former US Senator and former Attorney-General hosted the Amcham meetings. He said that even though Gibraltar is small, it has "a giant future" paralleling it with Dwight Eisenhower, who, from small beginnings went on to lead the entire world to defeat fascism and the Nazis having spent two years planning the war from the Rock itself.

Similarly, he said that he himself grew on a ranch without electricity or a telephone: "And yet, just like Gibraltar, my parents had big dreams for our children. They never had an opportunity to go to college or travel far abroad but they knew their work would pay off for their children. So they knew that from that small place, their eight children all became first generation college graduates and I was able to join Obama as his colleague in the US Senate in 2004 as well. And then I went out to serve as Secretary of the Interior overseeing 20% of the land mass and all of the oceans and the energy that is produced from them."


He said that from small things great things can happen, and are happening, in Gibraltar, describing "the rule of law" that is making us "a hub of economic activity" as one of the main reasons why trade is being attracted here.

"Amcham was formed because there are opportunities for North American companies and companies from around the world to expand their business opportunities for goods and services here in Gibraltar," said Salazar. "We know it is a stepping stone to over 500 million people in the EU. When you think about that it is almost twice the population of the United States of America.

"Gibraltar has been of the greatest military significance to the US since our country's founding and up to the very present. This military link has long fostered the positive interaction and co-operation between Americans and Gibraltar. The existence of Amcham demonstrates these ties include already existing extensive commercial interaction."

He said Gibraltar can be an economic innovator for all of Europe, citing certain benefits of our nation: "The benefits are geographical, political, legal and cultural. Doing business here means you have unrestricted access to millions of people both in Europe and Africa, a highly developed business service infrastructure, a quality low tax jurisdiction, and a legal system that is based on Engish common law and local statutes.

"Multi-cultural English-speaking Gibraltar is one that allows access to the entire English-speaking world and that is a significant benefit to Gibraltar. It is going to be a centre of innovation because it is small and yet it has great leadership and it has challenges and issues that create opportunity for commerce in a number of different ways."

Salazar said that apart from financial services, e-commerce was an important part of everyday business life as well as a vision for being energetically independent. "In the years and decades ahead you will see Gibraltar continue to be this small country of giant innovation," he concluded.