TIME TO REIMAGINE SCOTLAND’S INTERNATIONAL TRADING ALLIANCES

In Chamber News by Sarah Medcraf

BUSINESS & GOVERNMENT AMBITION WILL KEEP SCOTLAND OPEN TO THE REST OF THE WORLD

Scottish business must “take the initiative” by strengthening direct links with businesses overseas as the Brexit process unfolds, the Chair of Scottish Chambers of Commerce will tell guests at the network’s 24th Annual Business Address tonight.

In her final speech as SCC Chair, Nora Senior, will outline the Chambers’ priority to create a “unique Scottish model” of international business-to-business outreach that can withstand any changes to the international trade regime brought about in the process of leaving the EU.

Speaking in the presence of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Scotland Lord Dunlop, Ms Senior will stress the need for Scottish business to be “more vocal” in outlining its Brexit-related interests to the UK and Scottish Governments. She will call for the event of Brexit to be used as a stimulus to:

  • redouble efforts to grow Scotland’s exports
  • team with public agencies to strengthen new international trade links
  • address the chronic underperformance of the Scottish economy relative to the UK.

The SCC Chair’s appeal for more grass-roots effort to forge international SME links comes as First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP is set to announce a major package of funding for the Chambers to build on the recent success of individual Chambers in Scotland in pursuing international trading alliances with counterparts in Europe, North America and the Far East.

Welcoming the Scottish Government’s support, Nora Senior will say: “For the SCC Network, our highest priority is to make sure that Scotland remains open for business to the rest of the world. That means being able to trade and invest easily with international markets and Scotland remaining an attractive destination for inward investment.

“We have to take the initiative, Scotland needs to use the opportunities this exit presents to become a passionate advocate for international trade – global markets and internationalisation.”

“Our future as a trading nation now depends on business and government working together to answer some of the tough questions about how best to reimagine, rebuild and deepen our business, cultural, social and economic relationships around the globe.

“The is the perfect time to look at a unique Scottish model – a public and private sector working together, creating stronger links between Scotland and our overseas trading partners. Both business and government need to move forward at pace, collaboratively, to mobilise our respective strengths, to do what’s best for the Scottish economy and forge a path of delivering new international trade deals for Scotland.

“The success of our international focus will depend upon building a solid domestic economy and every action of our Scottish and UK Governments must be actively and demonstrably in pursuit of that goal.  Scotland’s economic growth was not good enough well before the EU Referendum and continues to underperform the UK as a whole.  Scotland must become a more competitive and attractive place where more businesses are created and which is attractive to inward investors.”

Thanks to the sponsorship of Turkish Airlines and CGI, this prestigious event will celebrate the hard work of Scottish businesses and will look towards the year 2017 as the year to showcase that Scotland is a great place to do business. The event will also feature a Keynote Address from John-Holland Kaye, Chief Executive, Heathrow Airport.