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Lochhead in Spain to ‘unlock’ trade opportunities

Richard Lochhead
Richard Lochhead: building relationships (pic: Terry Murden)

Trade and Innovation Minister Richard Lochhead will meet business leaders during a visit to Spain aimed at unlocking trade and investment opportunities.

Spain is a priority market in the Scottish Government’s growth export plan, A Trading Nation, worth £623 million in goods exports in 2022. Figures from last year show that Spanish businesses in Scotland employ 10,630 people and turn over £4.59 billion annually.

The minister’s two-day visit includes meetings with energy and renewables firms, a digital health company, a leading hotel chain planning to open its first Scottish hotel in 2025, and one of Spain’s top spirits exporters which is looking at investing in a Scottish distillery.

It will come to a close with a meeting at Iberdrola, which owns ScottishPower, to discuss how its green hydrogen projects align with Scotland’s net zero ambitions.

Mr Lochhead said: “Despite ongoing global economic headwinds, and the impacts of Brexit and COVID, Scotland continues to perform well in attracting foreign direct investment.

“My focus will be on building relationships with new and existing investors, supporting export opportunities and raising Scotland’s profile internationally. It will also be a chance to highlight the benefits of our new Green Freeports to Spanish firms looking for a base in Scotland.

“I will be highlighting the Scottish Government’s commitments to work with investors to develop projects that will enable large scale hydrogen production with export routes to Europe.”

Background

Spain is estimated to be the fourth largest country in the EU, with a population of 47 million, and is one of the fastest growing economies in the Eurozone. Food and drink was the largest export in 2019, accounting for 19% of Scotland’s total exports and worth £6.6 billion to the economy.

Scotland’s ambition to become a future exporter of green hydrogen to Europe could result in £25 billion annual gross contribution to GVA with over 300,000 jobs protected or created by 2045.

Due to the importance of Spain to Scottish exports, there are two Scottish Development International specialists based in Madrid and Barcelona supporting trade activity.

Last year, EY’s independent Annual Attractiveness Survey highlighted Scotland as the most attractive FDI location outside of London, a position held for the last seven years.

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