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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-21824: Dean Lockhart (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 26 February 2019

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5F-03084 by Nicola Sturgeon on 21 February 2019 (Official Report, c. 22), whether it will confirm what new business contracts and investment were agreed during the First Minister's visits.

Answered by: Ivan McKee 20 March 2019

North America is one of Scotland’s most important markets with 550 US-owned enterprises employing more than 106,000 people and 40 Canadian-owned firms employing nearly 4,000 people.

In the face of Brexit, with Scotland being taken out of the Single Market and Customs Union, it has never been more important to promote Scotland as an open and welcoming investment location, and to reassure those companies with existing interests in Scotland of our commitment to continuing those economic partnerships.

During the First Minister’s visit to North America in February 2019, she engaged with more than 50 senior representatives from companies and organisations in order to promote and encourage existing and future business links with Scotland. These included existing investors with employment in Scotland – Leidos (326 staff), Marriott International (1500) and Morgan Stanley (1550). The First Minister also met senior representatives from Standard Life Aberdeen, J P Morgan Chase, Baker Hughes and Rockstar Games at an investor lunch hosted by IBM. These meetings demonstrated a continued presence and support for Scotland during uncertain times and provided vitally important opportunities to work together on future partnerships. The First Minister also met Verdant Power, a wave and tidal power company with existing links to EMEC.

In New York, the First Minister announced Scotland’s successful bid to host the 2022 FDI World Forum which will attract 400-500 delegates to Scotland.

In Canada the First Minister met with the Toronto Regional Board of Trade, which represents 250,000 business professionals and influencers in the Toronto area. The First Minister also witnessed the signing of a 3-year Social Licence Agreement between Scotland’s Social Enterprise Academy and Canadian Community Economic Development Network.

£6.1 billion of Scottish goods and services exported to the North American market in 2017 and the US is Scotland's largest export destination country. The visit also provided the opportunity for the First Minister to further promote Scotch whisky, gin, seafood and dairy produce to this important market at a food & drink showcase event in Ottawa.

The First Minister's promotion of Scotland and influence on specific opportunities is crucial to furthering business links with North America in order to encourage new investment and export opportunities which are critical to economic growth.