The High-Tech Forums
In 1986, Louis Turner and Tomihiro Taniguchi (then a Visiting Fellow to Chatham House) devised the basic concept of the UK-Japan High Technology Industry Forum. This would be an annual Forum, primarily involving executives from the two countries and alternating between Japan and the UK. The UK-Japan Forums ran for 20 years between 1986 and 2005, with Chatham House (initially) and the Asia-Pacific Technology Network organising the British end on a non-governmental basis.
Towards the end of the 1990s, the Department of Trade and Industry in the UK asked APTN to take this concept and run similar events with Korea and, then, China. This led to 5 UK-Korea High Tech Forums and 3 UK-China High-Tech Forums.
A typical Forum would involve around 25 delegates on either side, who would primarily be executives from major corporations, but would also involve officials and academics. The conferences would normally be two-day, round-table events, which would then break into parallel sessions focusing on different technologies or themes. Around a third of the time, a Minister would give a key address, and each delegation would host one relatively formal dinner during the course of the conference. After it, there would be one or two days of visits to laboratories and factories of some of the participating companies. Occasionally, they would be much more ambitious than this. The last UK-China Forum in 2005 involved a British delegation of 120 people and up to 6 parallel sessions at any time - ranging from Venture Capital techniques, through the state of Cancer research and semiconductor design, to discussions of Satellite Broadcasting and Environmental Technology.
We don't have past records of these Forums properly up on this site, but the records of the following seminar(s) are in reasonable condition:
Multi-sectoral Forums worked well while the corporate establishments of two countries were getting to know each other. Later on, these Forums were felt to be too broad, and were replaced by a variety of government-backed targeted missions.
However, the principle of annual events, alternating between two countries, holds good. The Forums helped create a community of executives who got to know each other over three or four years. Also, if speakers identified issues or strengths in the country of the visiting team, everyone would know that they would be able to examine these in more detail when the Forum returned to the other country. They were also an excellent opportunity for small companies with good ideas to mingle with executives from much bigger companies who would often advise on how these ideas might be introduced to the right part of their operations.
We have put up the records of a number of other Forums and related conferences, but these are not well formatted. However, you will be able to discover the main speakers and topics of most of these events.