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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-18542: Clare Adamson (Motherwell and Wishaw)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 4 September 2018

To ask the Scottish Government how Scotland is strengthening economic ties with Canada.

Answered by: Fiona Hyslop 13 September 2018

The Scottish Government’s Canada Engagement Strategy was refreshed in March 2017 and identifies trade and investment in Canada a key part of our overarching strategic objective to enhance Scotland's global outlook. Scotland's key sectors of technology, energy, life sciences, financial services, food and drink, creative industries and tourism have much to offer and gain from increased engagement in the Canadian market and collaboration with Canadian companies. We will work with Scottish Development International and other partners to support Scottish companies to make the most of these opportunities.

The Programme for Government in September 2017 announced the intention to expand our presence in Canada. As part of this expansion, we are opening a new office in Ottawa, which will be operational later in the year. Canada is a priority market for Scotland and our enhanced presence will forge stronger links across Canada at all levels. Meanwhile, our current office in Toronto will continue to ensure that Scotland’s interests are represented in Canada’s financial and business centre.

Co-location of Scottish Government, Scottish Development International (SDI) and Visit Scotland staff in Toronto reflects our Strategic Board's approach to collaboration across agencies and partners in a key market. Strong business alignment and optimising of resource also includes effective leveraging of Globalscots and the alumni of Scottish universities. Alongside Toronto, SDI has an office presence in Calgary. Trade & Investment focus in Canada is concentrated on supporting priority sector and market development opportunities in food and drink; energy; the financial services; and in technology and creative industries.

In the food and drink sector, we are building demand for (premium) Scottish food and drink via in-market specialist support. This includes working directly with importers, distributors, retailers and food service companies in the market, as well as supporting Scottish companies to enter and export more to Canada.

In the energy sector, we are developing inward investment and Scottish supply chain opportunities with oil and gas companies in and around Calgary, Canada’s energy ‘capital’. SDI is also identifying renewables-related opportunities across the Canadian maritime provinces on the Atlantic coast.

SDI also have financial services specialists working in the Toronto market - a recognised North American financial services hub. Toronto presents opportunities to work with large corporate financial services companies, as well as emerging, disruptive ‘fintech’ companies.

In technology and creative industries, SDI has identified significant market development potential in the Greater Toronto Area, and a number of other Canadian cities, with opportunities to align Scottish capability in several emerging and disruptive technology platforms.