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Berlin ties sealed with hub and MoU

Berliner Dom

Berlin offers access to Europe’s biggest country

Scotland’s presence in Europe has been boosted by the opening of its latest innovation and investment hub in Berlin.

The hub, in the British Embassy, was first announced in October 2016 and joins a network of offices in Beijing, Brussels, Dublin, London and Washington.

Germany is Scotland’s fourth largest overseas market, accounting for Scottish exports in 2016 worth £1.9 billion.

The hub in Berlin will jointly house Scottish Government and Scottish Development International staff.

External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop announced the opening as she undertook two days of engagements in the German capital.

This included the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Glasgow and Berlin Chambers of Commerce and meeting the organisers of the European Championships, jointly hosted in Glasgow and Berlin this summer.

Ms Hyslop said: “Scotland is an outward-looking European nation that has much to share with other countries.

“The opening of our Germany Hub is a signal of our intent to continue to support deep and lasting links with our European neighbours. In light of Brexit, it is all the more important that we deepen those cultural, economic and diplomatic ties.

“The Hub will be a focal point for our engagement across the central Europe region.”

Stuart Patrick and Jan Eder shake on the deal

The MoU is designed to give members mutual access to companies in Scotland and Germany’s biggest cities, with the aim of developing trade relationships and maximising business opportunities.

Glasgow Chamber of Commerce president Jim McHarg, chief executive Stuart Patrick and deputy chief executive Richard Muir travelled to Berlin to sign the MOU, with president Dr Beatrice Kramm and general director Jan Eder ratifying the agreement for Berlin Chamber.

Mr Patrick said: “The signing of this agreement could not have come at a more appropriate time, with the uncertainty that the Brexit vote has brought to future trading relationships with Europe.

“Glasgow Chamber’s board took the view that, whatever the outcomes from the negotiations, we should do our best to strengthen trading ties wherever we could, and this agreement shows that we are on the front foot in maintaining business links with Europe and not sitting back waiting on others to make decisions.”

In addition to launching the hub, Ms Hyslop’s meetings and engagements in Berlin include:

  • Head of the German Parliament Committee for Economy and Energy
  • Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry
  • Managing Director of the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships
  • INNOGY innovation hub
  • 18 Investment Management

The Germany Innovation and Investment Hub is located at Wilhelmstraße 70 in central Berlin.

The hub will complement the existing Scottish Development International presence in Dusseldorf. A new Twitter account for the hub has launched today: @ScotHubGermany

See also:

Interview with Stuart Patrick

Key facts on Scottish-German relations:

  • Around 30,000 German citizens live in Scotland
  • There were 354,000 visitors to Scotland from Germany in 2016
  • Germany is the third largest source of foreign direct investment into Scotland, with 155 German-owned companies employing nearly 18,000 people
  • Germany is Scotland’s biggest partner in Europe for academic research collaboration

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