Export growth at centre of new trade strategy

China is among the markets being targeted by the new trade strategy

The Scottish Government and the country’s enterprise agencies have announced a new “Global Scotland Trade and Investment Strategy 2016-2021” that will focus on “new regional export partnerships” and a tripling of the number of export advisors.

The strategy renews the focus of the government’s and the agencies on attracting inward investment, driving exports and promoting Scottish interests globally — especially in the Middle East and Far East.

The strategy plans to fund new “innovation and investment hubs” in London, Dublin and Brussels to attract inward investment and help companies and academia access new markets and investors.

It plans to strengthen Scottish Development International’s “high growth market unit” to help Scottish businesses enter and grow in China, India and the Middle East.

And it hopes to build Scotland’s profile and reputation “by using a clear identity for international trade activities of the Scottish Government, its agencies and organisations receiving government funding.”

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “Scotland continues to be the most attractive place in the UK outside London for inward investment and events such as the Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup have put Scotland firmly on the map.

“With international exports increasing by 17 per cent in the past five years, the strategy builds on this success and aims to help more Scottish businesses sell more goods and services to more markets, while helping existing investors to develop and grow in Scotland.

“New regional export partnerships will be formed to get the public and private sector working to shared trade goals, while SDI will triple the number of export advisers working with businesses in Scotland.

“Working across Government and with partners, we will take the strengths of Scotland’s economy to the rest of the world to grow export markets and attract new international capital investment.”

Paul Lewis, managing director of Scottish Development International,  said: “International trade and investment is crucial to growing businesses and to developing our economy, bringing with it increased productivity, expanded horizons and exciting new partnerships.

“This strategy will help us extend the real benefits of international trade to more businesses operating in more markets while also building on Scotland’s reputation as a leading location for international investment.”

Swinney made his announcement ahead of a visit to eCom Scotland in Dunfermline, a successful export company that produces management, development and training software such as eLearning and online assessment.

Wendy Edie, managing director, eCom Scotland, said: “It’s our focus on R&D which has enabled us to develop innovative technologies for workforce learning and assessment, an industry valued at $4 billion globally.

“We have used experience from UK projects to identify opportunities to lead best practice internationally. Helping us expand into new markets and create digital jobs in Scotland.”

Councillor Andrew Burns, chair of the Scottish Cities Alliance, said: “The strategy recognises the key role cities and their networks play in attracting major investors and developers through the promotion of high quality investment opportunities which are essential to the on-going economic success of our cities.

“These propositions demonstrate to the world that Scotland is an internationally competitive investment location and is leading the UK in developing scaled up opportunities of interest to the global market, responding to investor needs and ensuring that our brand and presence remains strong.

“Scotland’s cities offer huge potential to international investors and the Alliance has great ambitions for Scotland’s city economies. “