English auto delegation touring Upstate and Southeast

A delegation from England is in the Upstate today, looking for ways to strengthen ties among the auto industries in the American Southeast and the northeastern region of the United Kingdom.

Members of the UK’s North East Automotive Alliance and the Department of International Trade are joining lawyers from Womble Bond Dickinson on a tour of automotive industry hotspots across the Southeast. The goal is to strengthen ties between the region and the UK’s automotive hub, according to a news release.

A spokesman for Womble Bond Dickinson said the visit is not directly tied to tariffs or Great Britain’s impending exit from the European Union, but both situations have manufacturers in the respective auto-making regions especially vigilant for new opportunities.

The tour starts today in Greenville, where they will meet with several industry representatives before heading to Atlanta for the Southern Automotive Conference, the news release said. Womble Bond Dickinson spokesman Brian Ewing said there are strong similarities between the two regions.

Northeastern UK manufacturers include Nissan, Komatsu, Caterpillar and Cummins, along with scores of smaller manufacturers who make parts for those companies.

Paul Butler, CEO of the North East Automotive Alliance, said strengthening transatlantic ties within the sector could be important for continued success in both countries. “The acceleration toward electrification and to industrial digitalization means we will see more change in the automotive sector over the next 10 years than we have in its history to date, Butler said in the news release.

“Because of that, there is a tremendous opportunity right now for businesses in those regions to continue their growth through partnership and collaboration.”