finance

Scottish SMEs target US for first in-person trade missions since pandemic began



Scottish business leaders have targeted the US for a first in-person trading mission since the start of the pandemic.

Around 25 leaders of small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – across key sectors including technology, food and drink and finance – are expected to join trade missions to Miami and New York.

The International Trade Partnership (ITP) missions, led by Inverclyde Chamber of Commerce and Forth Valley Chamber of Commerce, aim to forge new trade links in key markets, including tech, sport and leisure, food and drink and the creative industries.

The Scottish Government-backed ITP mission links smaller and emerging Scottish businesses with commercial contacts overseas – and already this year more than 20 firms have benefited from successful virtual trade missions to Colombia and Italy.

The virtual Colombia mission, which was the ITP’s first trade mission to South America backed by the Scottish Government, involved 16 businesses who took part in more than 60 meetings with contacts.

Some have already forged working relationships with contacts in Colombia, seen as a gateway to the Latin American and the Caribbean market.

The organisers are planning a series of networking events and meetings, as well as involvement in the return of the Tartan Day in New York in April.

Financial services are a key focus for the trade missions, and another business already established in Miami is Aberdeen-based financial services firm abrdn. The firm views the region as an important financial market opening up domestic and overseas opportunities in key areas, including Latin America.

The Miami mission, led by Inverclyde Chamber of Commerce, takes place from 29 to 31 March this year. The New York mission, led by Forth Valley Chamber of Commerce, runs from 6 to 8 April.

Menno de Vreeze, head of business development international wealth management Americas at abrdn, said: “South Florida is one of the fastest growing cross border markets for overseas clients given its approximate position near Latin America and a sophistication of the marketplace.

“For Scottish financial businesses, Florida offers access to a vast set of opportunities, which include the US domestic wealth market, with a large increase of wealth and high net-worth individuals, companies moving to Florida and international clients booking their assets in Florida for diversification benefits

“We think it is important to have a local presence in Florida in order to be close to the decision makers and to maximise the opportunity set the United States represents.”

Lynn Blaikie, president of Forth Valley Chamber of Commerce, added: “The US is known as a land of opportunity, but you need to know where to start, and that’s what we want Scottish businesses to get from this exciting ITP trade mission to Miami and New York City.”

Mark Spragg, president of Inverclyde Chamber of Commerce, added: “The trade mission to Miami is the perfect evolution of our successful activities in Italy and Colombia, and we hope more of Scotland’s most exciting businesses will join us in person as we seek to make more important connections across the Atlantic.”

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