• Sweden edition
 
The Local Interview
US envoy gets on his bike to back trade deal
US Ambassador to Sweden Mark Brzezinski completes his trans-Sweden bike trip in Stockholm. Photo: The Local

US envoy gets on his bike to back trade deal

Published: 18 Jul 2014 11:22 GMT+02:00
Updated: 18 Jul 2014 11:22 GMT+02:00

Ambassador Brzezinski's audacious endeavour, aptly dubbed the T-TRIP, was an initiative designed to promote the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a US-EU free trade agreement that is currently being negotiated.
 
As Brzezinski and his crew of burly bikers arrived at the Brooklyn Brewery in Stockholm's Hammarby Sjöstad, marking the end of their Gothenburg-Stockholm journey, they were greeted by family holding home-made "welcome home Daddy" signs, all decorated with shiny colours and sparkling glitter.
 
"It was such an awesome trip," he told The Local.
 
"We met business people everywhere and listened and learned about what their expectations, hopes, anxieties and uncertainties are."
 
 
The 49-year-old son of Polish-born former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski explained that one of the reasons behind the decision to venture outside the comfort of the cities to promote trade was because "trade has local roots but global reach". He especially recalled meeting two women - one trying to build a pig farm, the other a dairy farm.
 
"I remember their dreams and their passion to build a business off the land," he said. "But they are worried and anxious, can they compete?"
 
Despite Sweden's modest population size, the Ambassador pointed out that the country is the 12th largest investor in the United States, making it by some measures the largest trade partner per capita.
 
 
"It's an important catalytic country that can set a great tone in terms of trade and investment," he told The Local.
 
"Also, Sweden is a wise voice on behalf of the West. People listen when the Swedes have an opinion, and Swedes being for the EU-US free trade agreement would be good. And I believe that they are."
 
One of the possible reasons why the rest of the world chooses to listen to Sweden, Brzezinski observed, was the fact that it is historically regarded as a trading country.
 
"Look at the cities we were in: Alingsås, Mariefred, Falköping - those are historical trading cities," he said.
 
"Trade is a part of this country's history and part of this country's future."
 
When faced with questions regarding the concerns that have been raised about potential threats to the environment or impairment of the food product standard, the Ambassador responded firmly.
 
"I will say this: I would never support a free trade agreement that would degrade or diminish the environment."
 
"I am a passionate environmentalist and that's why I'm for the agreement."
 
He added that US President Barack Obama was of the same opinion and would not agree to lowering standards on labour or consumer product safety.
 
 
Brzezinski stated that he thinks Sweden can benefit from TTIP in a lot of ways, especially since there are a lot of small to medium-sized business owners in the country who would be able to expand trade while contributing to trans-Atlantic unity.
 
"That's the kind of world that I want my five-year-old daughter ultimately to be an adult in," he said.
 
During the 580-kilometre biking trip, the Ambassador and his crew had an eventful few days in terms of the wildlife and the weather.
 
"On day one a huge snake went right in front of us. It was one of those poisonous snakes in Sweden," he told The Local.
 
"The hardest day was day four, we'd gone through three hours of rain and truck after truck was going by us. That was easily the toughest moment."
 
Despite the hardships and being the slowest one in the group due to his security detail being much more physically suited for biking such a long distance, Brzezinski was happy with the outcome.
 
"We had so many high-five moments and moments that kind of brought us together. I really appreciate my team for keeping a kind of a pace that I could manage." he said.
 
 
Finally, the Ambassador offered a piece of advice for people wanting to follow in his wheel tracks and bike across Sweden. 
 
"Stay off the main roads, go on the side roads and you will see beautiful Sweden."
 
"Whether the mountains (sic) around Örebro or the fields around Mariefred, or just leaving the port city of Gothenburg, you will see remarkable topography. Get out there and bike."

For more stories about Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter

Sanna Håkansson (sanna.hakansson@gmail.com)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Getinge Floods
Swedish floods spread wider as rain continues
Photo: Anders Andersson/TT

Swedish floods spread wider as rain continues

UPDATED: The flood in southern Sweden spread further on Wednesday, with forecasters predicting rain all week. With the defence minister on the scene, officials have warned that up to 8,000 households risk evacuation. READ  

Top ministers count cost of 'less secure world'
Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

Top ministers count cost of 'less secure world'

Foreign and Finance Ministers Carl Bildt and Anders Borg held a press conference on Wednesday to discuss how Sweden was being affected by a "less secure" world, and how it would foot the bill for a growing influx of refugees. READ  

Volvo profits saved by Chinese devotion
Volvo Cars chief executive Håkan Samuelsson. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Volvo profits saved by Chinese devotion

The now Chinese-owned Volvo Car Group announced a return to profits on Wednesday - thanks to the Swedish brand's popularity in China. READ  

Ikea founder gives giant donation to hometown

Ikea founder gives giant donation to hometown

Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad donated a gift to his hometown on Wednesday to the tune of 53 million kronor ($7.7 million). The cash is to be used for developing the area. READ  

Police hunt masked thief after Stockholm fire
Photo: Fanni Olin Dahl/TT

Police hunt masked thief after Stockholm fire

The Slussen tunnel in Stockholm began billowing out black smoke on Wednesday afternoon. Police believe that the fire was connected to an attempted robbery earlier in the day. READ  

Elections 2014
Parties duel as refugee costs rocket
Photos: TT

Parties duel as refugee costs rocket

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and opposition leader Stefan Löfven clashed on Wednesday after the Migration Board asked for more money to handle Sweden's influx of refugees. READ  

Introducing: Sweden's five minority languages
The Sami in northern Sweden. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Introducing: Sweden's five minority languages

Did you know there are five official minority languages in Sweden? The Local's Isabela Vrba finds out what they are, how they're protected, and what rights their speakers have. READ  

Swedish docs puzzled by deformed penis trend

Swedish docs puzzled by deformed penis trend

More and more Swedish boys are born with deformed penises, and researchers are uncertain exactly what's behind the increase. READ  

The Local List
What Sweden means to you in just one Tweet
Photos: Shutterstock/Imagebank Sweden

What Sweden means to you in just one Tweet

The Local Sweden has been asking readers to squeeze their view of Sweden into just 140 characters or less. Here's what you came up with up for #SwedeninaTweet. READ  

Sweden and the Bronx
Swedes celebrate 375th anniversary of the Bronx
The Bronx. Photo:Shutterstock.

Swedes celebrate 375th anniversary of the Bronx

What do the Bronx and Sweden have in common? More than an affiliation with the Yankees, it turns out. And one small Swedish town is about to make that abundantly clear. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Society
Did you know the Bronx in NYC was named after a Swede?
Politics
"Iraq reminds me of the Yugoslav wars. It's the same story."
Society
Swedes slam Danes for 'racist' art
National
Majority of Swedes favour more or just as many refugees
Society
Lock your bathrooms: Swedish toilet invader on the the loose
Blog updates

17 August

Sea Fever (Around Sweden in a kayak) »

"I’m going to keep this post short and sweet as its not something I take any pleasure in writing. After much deliberation I have made the heartbreaking decision to abandon my trip after 1200km due to reoccurring injury. It is not a decision I have made lightly and it is one that has been truly devastating..." READ »

 

17 August

St. Louis strong (Blogweiser) »

"It’s typically a bad sign when my hometown makes news in Sweden. St. Louis was in the headlines here a few years ago when a tornado struck the airport. The city also caught attention after a politician talked about ‘legitimate rape’. Now, shooting and riots this week in Ferguson, a part of St. Louis, are..." READ »

 
 
 
Politics
'Assange will not leave until safe'
Gallery
See more images from the southern Sweden floods
Sponsored Article
Find out what gives this Swedish school executive appeal
Society
Serial chicken smuggler caught at Norway border. Again.
Society
This gold coin may be the key to solving a Swedish massacre
Shutterstock
Lifestyle
The Swedish mentor (and why you may need one)
National
Food agency warns girls: 'Don't eat stinky fish'
Politics
Reinfeldt calls for tolerance to refugees
Gallery
People-watching August 16-17
National
Sweden celebrates 200 years of peace
Society
Top ten literal Swedish words
Politics
'Terror training should be illegal': Liberal Party
Gallery
Swedes talk about 200 years of national peace
Politics
Islamic extremist shakes Sweden with TV threat
National
Teacher fined for 'Hitler salute' in German class
Politics
Swedish politician proposes ban on begging
National
Swede asks for epidural and gets disinfectant
National
Swede reports 'expensive' sex to police
Education
Sweden plans to scrap SFI for adult education
Skatteverket
Sponsored Article
Introducing... ID cards and permits in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

675
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se