Scottish exports to Ireland are worth £920 million according to latest figures and a dedicated team will now work to form new and enhance existing business relations hips on both sides of the Irish Sea.
Based in the British Embassy, this is the first new innovation and investment hub to be delivered as part of the Programme for Government, providing dedicated support to enhancing high-value economic, academic and innovation partnerships between Scotland and Ireland.
Irish business turnover in Scotland is around £2 billion, and Scottish Development International has supported more than 44 Scottish companies in recent trade activity in Ireland. The hub will further enhance the ability of Scotland and Ireland to develop these and other similar partnerships through a dedicated presence in Ireland.
It will also work to strengthen government to government relations, promote greater collaboration between governments, their agencies and universities around shared priorities, including shared approaches to compete for access to European funding.
The first minister said: “Investment from Ireland supports around 6,000 jobs in Scotland while exports to Ireland brings in £920 million to the Scottish economy – a clear indication that Ireland is a key trading partner.
“We are always looking at how we can increase the volume of exports and further support our economy, and having networks in countries like Ireland allows us to do this.
“We want to provide firms with a sound footing and give them the best possible chance of succeeding, and having dedicated staff with expertise of the trading environment there will give them a crucial insight into what businesses are looking for.
“As well as the need to build on and form new business relationships, we want to work more closely with the Irish Government on shared policy priorities and allow our academic institutions to collaborate with each other.
“This Hub will work as a conduit for all of those things to happen and will strengthen the already close links between Scotland and Ireland.”