International trade secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan has insisted north and north-east firms can reap further rewards from closer ties with the US.
Speaking after a visit to Enpro Subsea, in Westhill, near Aberdeen, she said efforts to boost transatlantic business were already paying off.
She cited a five-year suspension of the damaging 25% tariff on Scotch whisky exports to the US.
Opening up the American market to Scottish beef is another sign of improving trade relations, she said.
We want to make it much less expensive and less cumbersome for Scottish firms to trade with the US.”
Anne-Marie Trevelyan, international trade secretary.
Ms Trevelyan and US trade representative Katherine Tai were in the north-east for the start of the second joint dialogue on the future of Atlantic trade.
The talks, which kicked off in Aberdeen and continue in London today (April 26), are focused on key sectors of the economy and building on the UK’s existing trade partnership with America – said to be worth around £200 billion.
Participants include people from across Scottish central and local government, as well as a wide range of businesses, trades unions and civil society groups.
Shortbread on the ‘menu’
A Sunday evening meeting on the eve of the main talks was attended by business chiefs from the Scottish food and drink industry, including from Walker’s Shortbread, of Aberlour, Moray, which is one of this country’s biggest global export success stories.
Also represented was US drink company Brown-Forman, which owns three Scotch whisky distilleries – GlenDronach, Benriach and Glenglassaugh – and employs hundreds of people in the UK.
According to UK Government figures, US investment is supporting more than 100,000 jobs and generating nearly £50bn for the Scottish economy.
👍 Thank you Enpro Subsea for showing @AmbassadorTai and I around your Aberdeen base.
A great example of a company playing a key role in the safe decommissioning of North Sea oil fields as part of Govt's Energy Security Strategy @iainastewart @AndrewBowie_MP @AndyBurnhamGM pic.twitter.com/cDXQghfArX
— Anne-Marie Trevelyan (@annietrev) April 25, 2022
Ms Trevelyan said: “We want to make it much less expensive and less cumbersome for Scottish firms to trade with the US.
“We are looking at how we can make it easier. We are also looking at female-led businesses and how we can maximise their potential.”
“I am really pleased to be able to bring our trade dialogue to Aberdeen. The city is an important part of the Scottish economy.”
Enpro’s ‘clever’ tech
The minister used her visit to Enpro to highlight the UK’s energy strategy.
Unveiled earlier this year, the strategy is aimed at energy security and independence, while supporting the transition from fossil fuels to new technologies.
Ms Trevelyan said Enpro and its “clever” technology showed achieving environmental goals “must go hand-in-hand with an evolving North Sea industry”.
Enpro – Subsea UK company of the year in 2020 – is focused on developing production-boosting technology, with all manufacturing previously outsourced to third parties.
Early in 2020 it was announced London-headquartered energy services firm Hunting had acquired the business from some of its management team and EV Private Equity in a £25.6 million deal.
Enpro, which operates globally, retained its senior management team, including chief executive Ian Donald, as well as its Westhill base. The firm continues to trade under its own brand.