Nicola Sturgeon has unveiled plans boost Scottish exports as she warned Brexit will be "hugely damaging" to the Scots economy.
The SNP leader unveiled plans to more than treble the GlobalScot network of people making contacts and identifying opportunities for Scots firms to 2000 as she addressed business leaders in Edinburgh today. Numbers will double in Europe from 250 to 500 by the end of 2020.
Scottish Development International (SDI) will also recruit a further 12 specialists focusing on international markets by the end of March that offer the greatest opportunities for export growth.
Ms Sturgeon added: “Brexit threatens to be hugely damaging to Scotland’s economy and presents a particular challenge to exporters as we are taken out of the world’s biggest single market, which is around eight times bigger than the UK market.
“Short of continued EU or single market membership, the Scottish Government is continuing to argue for close alignment with the EU, as that would provide the best access to European markets, but we cannot predict what will happen.
“What I can guarantee is that the Scottish Government will strengthen our international ties and an important part of that involves encouraging more businesses to export. We cannot wait for the confusion surrounding the UK Government’s Brexit negotiations to clear before taking action to protect Scottish businesses and jobs."
he FM Export Challenge programme will also be expanded by arranging 40 new mentorships – under which existing exporters advise other businesses – by April 2020. An SDI trade specialist has been allocated to each one of about 1,200 companies identified as being key to achieving the Scottish Government’s export target
“Our aim is to ensure businesses receive the support and expertise they need. As well as the initiatives I have outlined today, our enterprise agencies are expanding to meet exporters’ needs. We are also supporting the Scottish Chambers of Commerce to deliver around 35 trade missions this year and working closely with the CBI and others to help drive the FM Export Challenge.
“Boosting our exports will be good for productivity, good for the balance of trade and good for our quality of life. I want to see a strong Scottish economy built on successful, internationally competitive businesses.”