• 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
Diplomacy
US to get first female ambassador in Sweden
File photo: Athena Center for Leadership Studies

US to get first female ambassador in Sweden

The United States Embassy in Stockholm is set to get its first female ambassador after the White House announced it was nominating the Indian-American ex-investment banker Azita Raji to take over from Mark Brzezinski. READ  

BREAKING
Submarine search called off in Stockholm
Ships are returning to shore in Sweden. Photo: TT

Submarine search called off in Stockholm

The core search for a suspected foreign vessel in Swedish waters has been called off. A press conference giving more details is expected at 10am. READ  

Politics
Sweden to get EU 'Christmas present'
Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven at an EU summit in Brussels this week. Photo: TT

Sweden to get EU 'Christmas present'

Sweden is set to get 1.2 billion kronor ($168 million) back from the EU on December 1st, according to leaked EU documents which suggest that other European countries will have to make large top-up payments this year. READ  

Science
Asteroids leave mark on Sweden
Astroids can leave marks like these. Photo: TT

Asteroids leave mark on Sweden

Some 458 million years ago, Earth was whacked in a double asteroid strike, leaving craters visible in Sweden today, space scientists have reported. READ  

New coalition
New coalition reveals 'compromise' budget
Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and Green Party leader Åsa Romson. Photo: TT

New coalition reveals 'compromise' budget

UPDATED: Prime Minister Stefan Löfven's Social Democrat-led coalition has revealed its first budget proposal, listing plans to spend more than 20 billion kronor. READ  

Royal family
Swedish royal couple set wedding date
The couple pictured in the summer. Photo: TT

Swedish royal couple set wedding date

Sweden's Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist, who got engaged earlier this year, have announced they will marry next June. READ  

Analysis
Sweden Democrat threats 'just a show'
Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Åkesson. Photo: TT

Sweden Democrat threats 'just a show'

There is talk that the nationalist Sweden Democrats could trigger a fresh election, by rejecting the new coalition's budget. But leading Political Scientist Li Bennich Björkman tells The Local that the party is just game-playing and should be focusing on getting its fatigued leader back. READ  

Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: October 24th - 31st
Chocolate and liquorice are on the menu in Gothenburg this weekend. Photo: Shutterstock

What's On in Sweden: October 24th - 31st

A secret gig in Stockholm, a short film festival in Uppsala and a gastronomy event in Gothenburg have caught our eye this week. READ  

Science
Astronaut helps launch first student satellite
Christer Fuglesang on a previous space mission. Photo: TT

Astronaut helps launch first student satellite

Sweden's debut astronaut Christer Fuglesang is helping students at KTH Royal Institute of Technology to become the first in the country to make their own satellite and send it into space. READ  

Weather
Sweden braces for ten centimetres of snow
Kiruna, in far northern Sweden, has already been hit by snow this season. Photo: TT

Sweden braces for ten centimetres of snow

Sweden's weather agency has warned that up to ten centimetres of snow are on the way for Sweden. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
People-watching: October 22nd
Gallery
In Pictures: Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist
Lifestyle
Eight things to love about renting a Swedish apartment
National
Vasa ship cannon blasted in Sweden
National
Sub hunt: Day-by-day
Blog updates

21 October

Denna & den här (The Swedish Teacher) »

"?Denna? or ?den här?? Swedish language students often ask question about different pronouns. One pronoun that especially..." READ »

 

19 October

Getting it (Blogweiser) »

"Follow Joel Sherwood on FB Few watch baseball in Sweden. This is excellent when your team loses..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Sub hunt: Stockholm islanders share their fears with The Local
Sponsored Article
The best options for oversea transfers
National
Get 20% off unique Swedish homeware
National
Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
Gallery
Property of the week: Malmö
Gallery
PHOTOS: 'Foreign activity' in Swedish waters
Gallery
People-watching: October 19th
TT
Society
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden: October 17th - 24th
Society
The nudity... and nine other things expat men notice in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 15th
Gallery
Your views: Should outdoor smoking be banned in Sweden?
Business & Money
Sweden has 'large hole' in finances
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Finding a job in Stockholm
Society
Monster salmon caught in northern Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Lorensberg
National
Scandinavia's child bride
National
Ebola crisis: How is Sweden preparing?
Business & Money
How Sweden is becoming a cashless society
Gallery
Stockholm Burlesque Festival 2014
National
How a little red horse became a symbol for Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 12th
Business & Money
The hottest start-ups from southern Sweden
National
What's on in Sweden: October 10th - 17th
National
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
Gallery
People-watching: October 8th
National
Five facts to know about Patrick Modiano
Society
My Swedish Career: A French fashionista in Sweden
Society
Swede's anti-bully Facebook tale goes viral
Society
Have you seen Sweden's viral subway cancer campaign?
National
Isis: Swedes linked to Turkish prisoner swap
National
Should Swedes be banned from buying sex abroad?
Gallery
Fredrik Reinfeldt's leaving presents
National
Five Swedish TV shows you shouldn't miss
Gallery
A tool belt, a casserole, and a book. Fredrik Reinfeldt's parliament gifts
TT
Lifestyle
Top five winter festivals in Sweden
TT
National
Sami reindeer herders win mine reprieve
Gallery
Property of the Week: Gamla Enskede
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Politics
Ten new minister faces you should know
Team SCA
Sponsored Article
All-female SCA team takes off on Volvo Ocean Race
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

967
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