Steps to increase trade with Scotland’s fourth largest export market are being progressed, despite the ongoing uncertainties caused by Brexit.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is leading a Scottish Development International (SDI) delegation of 12 companies to Berlin, who are looking to grow their businesses in the German marketplace, or break into the country for the first time.
Scotland currently exports around £2 billlion of goods to Germany annually and – as signalled by the opening in April of Scotland’s new Innovation & Investment Hub in Berlin – there is an ambition to further increase that figure.
The trade delegation is supported by the Glasgow and Edinburgh Chambers of Commerce – building on the signing of an MOU between the Glasgow and Berlin Chambers in April this year. Participating companies include Thistly Cross Cider of East Lothian, Edinburgh-based compostable packaging manufacturer Vegware, and Port Glasgow company Kare Orthopaedics.
Nicola Sturgeon will also meet Niels Annen, Germany’s Minister of State at the Foreign Office – the first ministerial meeting between the Scottish Government and the new German administration.
The First Minister said:
“The ongoing risks posed by Brexit only reinforces our determination to promote Scotland in Europe and around the world. That is why trade delegations such this are so important.
“The Scottish Government has taken steps enhance our presence in the EU. SDI is doubling its representatives in Europe, while our newly opened hub in Berlin will soon be followed by Paris, adding to our EU offices in Brussels, London and Dublin.
“Scotland is a hugely attractive place for companies in Germany and throughout the EU to do business with and invest in. Indeed, 155 German companies currently employ 18,000 people in Scotland.
“We cannot allow a hard Brexit to destroy that, or to stifle innovative Scottish firms looking to expand. That is why we continue to set out the unequivocal case for continued membership of the Single Market and Customs Union.”
On 25 June the First Minister will have a roundtable discussion in Berlin with a group of German investors, while she will jointly host a business reception in partnership with the German Chambers of Commerce.
The First Minister will also meet the Mayor of Berlin, Michael Muller, to discuss joint working and future cooperation around the co-hosted European Championships, being held in Glasgow and Berlin in August.
The Scottish Government’s Germany Hub was opened in April by External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop.
Scottish exports to Germany, Scotland’s fourth largest export market, were worth £1.91 billion in 2016. Germany is the third largest source of direct foreign investment to Scotland.