Scottish Secretary David Mundell
A new Scottish business taskforce has been announced to help advise the UK Government on economic and industrial policy.
Former UK Government minister Andrew Dunlop will chair a group of figures with knowledge of Scotland’s business and economy. The other members of the group have not yet been announced.
David Mundell said: “The UK Government’s new Scottish business taskforce will provide expert advice and guidance on how best to strengthen Scotland’s economy. We know that Scotland’s economic performance lags behind the rest of UK, and we need to close that gap. As we develop our ambitious industrial strategy and negotiate new trade deals with Europe and around the world, this expert panel will provide insight from a range of Scottish business sectors.”
The Scottish Secretary made the announcement ahead of a trip to Paraguay and Argentina. He will use his visit to promote Scottish business interests and build cultural and educational links.
There is already a history of Scottish firms doing business in South America, for example more than £14m of Scotch whisky is exported to Paraguay each year. Scottish agritech companies are also keen to create opportunities in Paraguay’s dynamic agricultural sector.
Mr Mundell said: “We want to build and strengthen our trade relationships with friends and partners old and new, and I am certain Scottish companies will be at the forefront of this. Scotland’s skills, products and services are highly regarded globally, and we can build on that as we strike ambitious new trade deals around the world. I am travelling to South America this week to bang the drum for Scottish businesses, taking the message to these markets that Scotland’s companies have the skills, products and expertise they need.
“There are strong historic links between Scotland and Paraguay, going back nearly 200 years, and I hope to further strengthen the relationship between our two countries. I will be promoting Scottish businesses, including looking at opportunities in Paraguay’s agricultural sector and for Scottish exports - building on the success of whisky sales to Paraguay.
“UK companies have an extensive presence in Argentina, with enormous scope to expand, particularly in new technology and in oil and gas, areas where Scottish firms are among the best in the world. There are also strong cultural links between Scotland and Argentina, including through the Edinburgh Festivals, and I very much look forward to cementing these links.”