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22/10/17 00:01

Building connections in North America

Economy Secretary rounds up business trip.

Good economic relations with the US and Canada are crucial to the continuing success of Scotland’s industries, Economy Secretary Keith Brown has said.

His comments come as he concludes a week-long series of business meetings and diplomatic engagements in North America.

Mr Brown also announced today that a US-backed £1 million research and development project in the oil and gas sector has received support from Scottish Enterprise.

Concept Systems Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of US-based ION Geophysical Corporation, will undertake a two-year project to develop and enhance the functionality of their seismic survey planning and management tool, Orca® software.

The economic development agency has offered almost £295,000 of funding which will help create three new jobs and safeguard a further nine in Edinburgh.

He said: “Innovation remains crucial to the oil and gas sector for  maximising economic recovery and reducing costs, ultimately securing the long term sustainability of the North Sea.

“Scotland's offshore oil and gas industry has a bright future, with up to 20 billion barrels of oil equivalent remaining under the North Sea and in the wider basin.

“ION are a leading innovator in geoscience and engineering. Given Scotland’s long tradition of excellence in the oil and gas industry, it would seem a natural partnership. The fact that ION have chosen to base their project here shows that through partnership working we can effect business decisions and demonstrate that Scotland is open for business.”

During the course of his week-long trip to the US and Canada, Mr Brown met with North American food and drink importers, Fintech and life science companies, Canadian and US banks and tourism and travel companies with an interest in Scotland.

Earlier in Ottawa he met the Canadian Minister for Science to discuss the two Governments’ shared priorities, including renewables and climate change.

Mr Brown added: “As long-standing valued partners of Scotland, this was an important opportunity to reinforce and strengthen our relationships in the US and Canada – both on a personal and business level.

“I was pleased to see what a strong reputation Scotland has for quality exports, a skilled workforce as well as being an innovative and outward-looking country.

“Bolstered by the close cultural links that exist between our countries, interest from North America is increasing - particularly in sectors such as food and drink and life sciences.

“It is clear to me that through friendship, and through closer working, this relationship will only go from strength to strength.”

Background

Engagements include:

  • Meeting with the Associate Deputy Minister of Veteran Affairs Karen Ellis to discuss support for veterans.
  • Meeting with members of the Canada-UK Inter-Parliamentary Association to discuss potential areas of collaboration.
  • Meeting with the Canadian Minister for Science, Kirsty Duncan MP.
  • Meeting with the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Canadian Heritage, Sean Casey.
  • Hosting a Scottish Government official reception to celebrate 150 years of friendship between Scotland and Canada and presentation of the official 150th anniversary gift.
  • Meetings with the Royal Bank of Canada and Citibank.
  • Meetings with food and drink importers, including Dom International and Atalanta.
  • Attendance at the Food & Drink Showcase Event in Toronto with key stakeholders from the Canadian food and drink business community
  • Speaking opportunities at a Scottish Fintech Networking Event at SIBOS (the world’s largest gathering of technology leads in the financial services sector) and to the Toronto Region Board of Trade.
  • Meetings with Norbord (who invested around £100 million at their site in Inverness in 2016 safeguarding 140 jobs) and US-based data company Spiritus Partners who have recently established a presence in Scotland, creating 35 jobs.
  • Meeting with US-based company, Acadian, who have recently acquired Uist Asco in the Outer Hebrides with the support of Highlands and Islands Enterprise.
  • Meeting with business-tourism agency Wynford Group and boutique hotel company Dream Hotels.