'AIM 4 America' to run June 12-16.

The British government's secretary of state for trade and industry Alistair Darling will throw his support behind a U.K. trade delegation to the United States next week.

Darling is to deliver a welcome speech to the visiting U.K. music industry contingent and will meet with attendees during an evening reception in New York on June 13. It will be Darling’s first music-related engagement since taking his new ministerial position following a cabinet reshuffle in May.

Some 21 companies will take part in the "AIM 4 America" trade mission to New York, which runs June 12-16.

The itinerary is organized by British labels' body the Assn. of Independent Music and supported by UK Trade & Investment, an organization established by the government to foster international trade. The government is subsidising the cost of the mission by approximately £600 ($1,115) per company.

The mission will be led by UKTI music export promoter Phil Patterson, backed up by AIM international manager Philippa McEvoy and recently-appointed head of AIM Digital Greg Eden. AIM Digital negotiates and administers collective licensing agreements for member labels with new-media partners.

Each company will attend a program of presentations from all areas of the U.S. music industry, covering radio, TV, print media, digital, retail, distribution and legal. The British attendees include IE Music, Lo-Max Records, Madison Management and Shed Publishing.

An AIM-led delegation of independent British music companies embarked on its first finding mission to the United States in June 2005, from which research was gathered on the world's biggest market.