• 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)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
National
Trio prosecuted for hate attack against Somalis
Somali nationals taking part in a demonstration against deportations in Stockholm. File photo:Björn Larsson Ask/SvD/ TT

Trio prosecuted for hate attack against Somalis

Three young men in southern Sweden suspected of attacking Somali refugees with stones and screaming "sieg heil" have been indicted on charges of racial agitation. READ  

National
Swedish airfares to get cheaper in 2015

Swedish airfares to get cheaper in 2015

Sweden is set to buck the European trend of rising air prices with fares expected to drop next year according to a new report. READ  

National
Swede's homemade submarine nets fortune
Eric Westerberg's homemade submarine Isabelle. Photo: PS.nu

Swede's homemade submarine nets fortune

A Swedish submarine enthusiast who spent over 3,500 hours making his own vessel has sold his prized possession for 705,000 kronor ($98,500) in an online auction. READ  

National
Cops reported for making 'Roma' comment

Cops reported for making 'Roma' comment

Police in northern Sweden have been reported to the Equality Ombudsman for describing a wanted suspect as having a "Roma appearance." READ  

Donald Duck and Zlatan get Swedish votes
A political career for Zlatan? Some fans seem to want to see that. Photo: Peter Dejong/TT

Donald Duck and Zlatan get Swedish votes

The Bilderberg Group, the Satanic Initiative and Adolf Hitler all received votes in Sweden’s general election, according to a list released by the country’s electoral authority. READ  

Sport
Stockholm fails bid to host Euro 2020 games
The Swedish team in action. Photo: TT

Stockholm fails bid to host Euro 2020 games

Sweden's capital has missed out on a chance to host any Euro 2020 games, with Copenhagen the only Scandinavian city among the thirteen winning locations. READ  

Vicar: God rejects fans of women priests
Antje Jackelén, Archbishop of Uppsala, is the first woman to head the Swedish church. Photo: Stig-Åke Jönsson/TT

Vicar: God rejects fans of women priests

A Swedish priest has been fired after telling his congregation that people who support female priests would be rejected by God - despite the fact that his own church is led by a woman. READ  

Analysis
Women set to dominate top post-election jobs
Margot Wallström (right) could become Stefan Löfven's new Minister of Foreign Affairs. Photo: TT

Women set to dominate top post-election jobs

Sweden could soon get a female Foreign Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt's ousted Moderate Party is preparing for its first woman leader and the grandmother of actor Hugh Grant's son is being tipped as Parliament's next Speaker. READ  

National
Sweden protests over Russian plane incursions
A Gripen plane was scrambled to see off the Russian planes. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Sweden protests over Russian plane incursions

UPDATED: Sweden has summoned the Russian Ambassador for a dressing down after two Russian planes violated Swedish airspace last week. READ  

Elections 2014
'Good prospects' for Alliance co-operation

'Good prospects' for Alliance co-operation

UPDATED: Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven says he is positive that his party can co-operate with the former governing Alliance on some issues. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
The 'black gold' of Sweden's west coast.
National
West Sweden prepares for the 2014 lobster premiere
Society
What's on in Sweden
Politics
How Sweden Democrats went mainstream
Politics
Scandinavia and Scotland: closer links?
Gallery
Property of the week - Eskilstuna
Blog updates

20 September

How a Frog Can Save the Environment (Stockholm in my American Heart) »

"What we do we imagine when we think of children enjoying nature? Perhaps it’s fishing, marveling at lightning bugs on a muggy July day or blowing on the wispy petals of a dandelion to make a special wish. But perhaps most iconic of the playful innocence in childhood is hopping after and trying to catch..." READ »

 

19 September

Editor’s blog (The Local Sweden) »

"Happy Friday readers! It sure has been a exciting week in Sweden, where we’re set to get a new Prime Minister after Fredrik Reinfeldt stepped down following Sunday’s elections. The Local blogged live from the key political gatherings across Stockholm. Why not re-visit the action by taking a look at our photos, tweets, videos and analysis? Since the..." READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
How to start a business in Stockholm
Society
How I became a surf blogger when I moved to Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 13th
Society
Why is Stockholm's Södermalm so cool?
Gallery
People-watching: September 11th
Gallery
People-watching: September 13th
Politics
Five possible election outcomes
Politics
Sweden elections: How do they work?
Politics
Sweden elections: Who's who?
Gallery
Property of the week - Hornstull, Stockholm
Analysis
Five differences between the UK and Sweden
Welshman Jonny Luck is now a chef in Sweden
Society
How I opened my own restaurant in Sweden's Malmö
Sponsored Article
Stockholm tech fest: relive the magic
Gallery
People-watching September 8th
Photo: TT
Politics
Feminists fight for first seats
Politics
Immigration cut push from Sweden Democrats
Sheryl Sandberg says women have "low expectations"
Tech
Facebook exec talks women's limits in Swedish business
Politics
Left Party calls for justice and equality
Politics
Green Party wants 'better world' for kids
Lifestyle
The five best Swedish songs of the month
Sponsored Article
Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Graduates: Insure your income in Sweden with AEA
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

866
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
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN