The Scottish Government had a progress review of ‘A Trading Nation’ just last year; this is the document that sets out the delivery of the Scottish Government’s export growth strategy, the priority countries we want to focus on and the priority sectors that offer the biggest opportunity.
Analysis has identified a priority list of countries where the Scottish Government expects the bulk of future growth to come from and these are mostly, though not exclusively, mature markets and most are close to home markets, with some notable exceptions. Top of the table is the USA, followed by Germany, France and the Netherlands.
However, the Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) plans to help to pave the way to key emerging markets, some mature yet distant markets, including East Asia, and some markets where there are strong opportunities but in specific sectors.
These findings will be presented by SCC to the Leader of the Scottish Labour Party, Anas Sarwar MSP, along with Daniel Johnson, MSP, the Labour spokesperson on the Economy and Finance at a roundtable in Edinburgh on 24th May.
The roundtable will be attended by businesses from across Scotland – from SMEs to global traders – who will highlight the importance of securing new international trade opportunities, allowing us to create new jobs, hasten inward investment and leverage Brand Scotland to enhance the economic benefits.
SCC International Trade Director, Seona Shand, said: “East Asia is an important market for businesses in Scotland with China being the second largest economy in the world. The country has swung from a closed to a more open economy and has undergone rapid economic and social change.
“Scotland’s top exports to China include education, chemical sciences, food & drink and engineering & advanced manufacturing and is predicted to continue to grow.
“In addition, the research into the growing middle class in emerging markets suggests that Indonesia, Brazil, Turkey and South Korea should be on the radar for businesses in Scotland. The challenge is to identify countries which have both a large potential consumer base, based on this report, but are also disposed to the purchasing of premium goods and services from Scotland.”
James Brodie, Director, Industrial Economy at the China-Britain Business Council, added: “Despite the geo-political headwinds and tumultuous times of the past three years of Covid-related restrictions, the Chinese market remains for many Scottish businesses simply too big an opportunity to ignore. The long-term fundamentals for doing business in and with China continue to be robust. It’s exciting to see the same entrepreneurial spark that led Scottish businesses to forge such prosperous ties with China be re-ignited since the reopening of international travel earlier this year and to once again welcome so many visitors from China to Scotland.
Leader of the Scottish Labour party, Anas Sarwar MSP, concluded: “Labour recognises that, in leaving the EU, Britain will face both challenges and opportunities. We are deeply ambitious for our country’s future and will draw on our international networks to make Britain a champion of multilateral engagement.
“That’s why it’s important for us to hear from businesses in Scotland to hear about the challenges they face when developing international markets.”