County officials meet with British rep to talk jobs, trade

RIVERSIDE – Riverside County officials met today with the United Kingdom’s chief representative in California to feel out future opportunities in foreign trade and similar interests that could benefit the region.

British Consul General for Los Angeles Chris O’Connor sat down with Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff Stone and county CEO Jay Orr at the County Administrative Center before heading to nearby UC Riverside for a campus visit.

Chief on the agenda was the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership currently under negotiation between the U.S. and European Union. The TTIP seeks to reduce or remove ”trade barriers,” including tariffs and regulations that stifle trans-Pacific commercial activity, according to supporters, whose number include Riverside County.

”(O’Connor) conveyed the thanks of the British prime minister to the county for securing the support of the National Association of Counties for the TTIP,” said Riverside County Foreign Trade Commissioner Tom Freeman.

He noted that 53 U.K.-owned firms are doing business countywide, ”employing local workers … paying income and property taxes.”

”The county and British Consulate team will be meeting again to discuss healthcare, economic development and educational partnership,” Freeman said.

He said that before O’Connor parted company with county leaders, he was presented with ceremonial gifts, including a county lapel pin, cuff links and an engraved writing pen.

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