America continues to be Scotland’s largest trade partner, with exports to the US worth £3.5bn in 2012. As part of his Scotland Week programme, the First Minister Alex Salmond will lead 17 Scottish companies who seek to break the valuable US market on a trade mission to New York.
The First Minister announced the trade mission on Thursday as he travels to New York to continue his successful programme of engagement with the North American business community and promote Scottish skills and expertise.
During the five day programme, the First Minister is set to announce hundreds of new Scottish jobs. There are currently 580 US owned companies in Scotland, which equates to 28% of the total number of foreign investors. Collectively these organisations employ 98,000 people in Scotland.
Complementing the trade mission, organised by Scottish Development International, the international arm of Scottish Enterprise, the First Minister will also hold a number of strategic business meetings with existing and potential new investors in order to further boost foreign employment in Scotland.
Ahead of travelling to New York today, the First Minister said:
“The US is the largest inward investor into Scotland, therefore it is vitally important that we continue to build on this lucrative business relationship.
“The Scotland Week trade mission will capitalise on the increasing appetite for premium Scottish products across fashion, interiors and food and drink, which have a strong appeal with the American consumer.
“Food and drinks exports alone have increased by a staggering 82% since 2007 and stand in excess of £817m in 2012. The market remains the top destination for Scotch Whisky exports – up 16% to £758m in 2012 – and the US is the largest importer of Scottish farmed salmon.
“Scotland’s highly skilled workforce, continuous innovation and lower costs, coupled with extensive public sector support holds a strong appeal to US companies looking to expand into Europe providing substantial opportunities for further jobs growth.
“I am confident that there will be a huge appetite for Scottish product in the Big Apple.”
Scotland’s premium offering to discerning US consumers also extends to textiles, arts and interior design. During the trade mission, iconic Scottish designer Iona Crawford will launch her ‘Beauty and the Beasts’ Capsule Collection from New York during Scotland Week. The launch forms part of a wider project produced by Slow Luxury and is inspired by the work of Scottish sculptor Andy Scott’s ‘Kelpies’, maquettes of which have been installed in Bryant Park, New York.
Also on the mission, flooring company Stevens and Graham is looking to secure distribution deals to access vast US markets with its tartan carpets range.
First Minister Alex Salmond continued:
“In fact, according to Ernst & Young, Scotland is continuing to ‘raise its game’ in the face of an increasingly competitive global market and we are improving our competitive position within the UK’.
“Business growth and investment are at the heart of our policies to secure economic growth. While the Scottish Government will continue to do all we can to help our businesses thrive with the full fiscal and economic powers of independence we could do even more to support companies, strengthen our economy and create jobs.
“Investment between our two countries is on the rise, which is why it is so important to maximise this successful economic relationship between Scottish and American businesses. It is a key priority for us to make it quicker and easier for business to continue between the two countries.
“During Scotland Week, we are able to show off Scotland’s historic, cultural and economic successes. Trade missions such as this in New York are a vital contributor to that success and I have no doubt that we will continue to see further investment in Scotland this year and in years to come.”
Lena Wilson, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise said:
“Our team in the US continues to build strong relationships with US investors and help open doors for Scottish companies with international ambitions.
“The specific objective of Scotland Week is not only to strengthen relationships but to raise the profile of what Scotland has to offer. Internationalisation and the exploitation of new markets is a key route to company expansion, higher productivity and innovation, resulting in increased long-term sustainable growth for the Scottish economy. As Scotland’s top export destination, the US market offers significant opportunities for companies and it’s the role of Scotland’s enterprise agencies to help make these opportunities a reality.
“Over the next few days Team Scotland will make a coordinated effort in the States to realise every opportunity for even greater trade and investment between our two nations.”