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On September 16, 2016, London Mayor Sadiq Khan signed an agreement that aims to highlight opportunities to strengthen trade with his American counterpart Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago. The agreement also aims to build investment links between the two cities that have a combined GDP of over $1.156 trillion (USD) as of 2014 estimates.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan inherited the fifth-largest national economy in the world measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the ninth-largest in the world measured by purchasing power parity (PPP). The United Kingdom is the second-largest economic power in the European Union by both metrics only to Germany, which was the founding member of the European Union.
This comes at a time when Mayor Khan does not know if the United Kingdom will have to exit the European Union immediately because of the 2016 referendum in which 51.9% of UK citizens voted to leave the Eurozone even though the vast majority of those living in London voted for the UK to remain in the European Union.
Very little was spoken about the Brexit decision at the event hosted at 1871, Chicago's technology incubator. Mayor Khan also did not speak about why London is better positioned over its Dublin, Ireland neighbor that is becoming know as the Silicon Republic of the European Union countries because of its ability to already have attracted the international headquarters of such American tech multinationals such as Google, Facebook, AirBnB and TripAdvisor.
With over 80,000 direct and indirect jobs created for the citizens of Ireland because of the appeal of an international investment corporate tax rate capped at just 12.5%. This showcases why London may not be as competitive as Mr. Khan wants American founders to believe considering U.S. based startup founders seeking to expand into Europe need more than a location, but a will need a secure resource network like the gatewaytoeurope.org, which can provide any size startup with the access to an experienced, professional network of service providers based on the idea that Ireland is the only English speaking country in the Eurozone according to gatewaytoeurope.org website.
"We share from each other. We are collaborating," said Rahm Emanuel during the meeting.
London is Europe's largest and most diverse technology hub, employing more than 200,000 people according to London & Partners. There are more than 40,000 digital companies in the capital with the figure expected to exceed 50,000 by 2025 according to Oxford Economics. As American startups grow from an idea into international operations, places like Dublin's Grand Canal Dock - nicknamed Silicon Docks, is an example of how important London must compete for U.S. based startups in Europe.
According to data compiled by London & Partners, the Mayor of London's economic development company, London is the leading global destination city for foreign direct investment from Chicago. In the last ten years more Chicago-based companies have chosen to set up in London than any other global city in the world.
Chicago companies like Grubhub, Groupon, and most recently Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) having chosen London as the city to expand their business in European market via the signing of the agreement at 1871, does this mean that the city of Chicago has endorsed London over Dublin as well as third runner up Berlin.
Both mayors share a special similarity in their respective roles in major international cities. Mayor Rahm Emanuel is the first Jewish Mayor of Chicago and Mayor Sadiq Khan is the first Muslim mayor of London.
In 2014, 1871 signed an MOU with its then CEO Kevin Willer to establish a reciprocity with Level 39 in London as part of a global outreach program which includes relationships in London, Mexico City, Toronto, Tel Aviv and Turkey.
In a prepared statement, the Mayor of London said: "London is the world's most competitive city, offering expanding international companies unrivaled talent creativity and a time zone that overlaps with other financial centers of power. Our technology sector is unparalleled across Europe, open to all and home to all manner of tech and digital companies who are helping to drive economic prosperity across the capital. I am delighted that Chicago businesses are investing in London and recognize that our great city is a true business powerhouse.