Forging a closer relationship between the UK and US security markets in preparation for the introduction of post-Brexit trade deals is the key focus of renewed talks between the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) and its American equivalent, the Security Industry Association (SIA).
Representing 640 companies across the United States, the SIA’s work mirrors that of the BSIA in the UK, engaging with the US Government and both Houses of Congress on Capitol Hill while providing members with industry research, developing standards and advancing industry professionalism through the provision of training opportunities.
At a private summit in Washington DC on Friday 17th March, the BSIA’s Public Affairs Executive, Felix Parker-Smith, met with SIA counterparts to discuss existing synergies between the two organisations and explore opportunities for closer collaboration in the future. Meanwhile, a return visit planned for this summer will see a delegation from the SIA visit the BSIA in London, with its Chief Executive, Don Erickson, scheduled to speak at the BSIA’s Annual Luncheon on July 12th.
Providing a platform for the SIA to learn more about the work of the UK security industry, the establishment of closer ties between the two organisations may also help to ensure that the British security industry is best placed to reap the benefits of international trade deals established in the wake of Brexit.
Felix Parker-Smith said: “Although there will be a number of businesses back home in the UK concerned about the potential effects of Brexit, these negotiations are only one side of the debate and we should welcome potential trade agreements beneficial to the UK security industry with open arms. Today's summit in Washington with the American Security Industry Association reinforces that view, laying the groundwork for a positive trade agreement between the UK and the USA once we leave the EU.”
For UK security companies, the US is already an important export market, with British manufacturers exporting an estimated £633m to American customers. According to a 2016 survey, almost 25% of BSIA Export Council members hope to increase business in the USA over the next 12 months. Meanwhile, the BSIA’s links with Europe remain strong through its influential presence on Euralarm and CoESS (Confederation of European Security Suppliers) committees.
Looking ahead to the forthcoming US visit to London, BSIA Chief Executive, James Kelly, said: “It's an exciting time for the UK to throw open the doors to wider international trade, especially with our closest ally and largest individual trading partner. I look forward to welcoming our American colleagues to London in the summer to showcase the UK security industry.”