Belfast Telegraph

Scottish firms urged to target exports beyond EU

Scottish businesses should be given more Government support to expand into emerging markets such as China and India as the UK prepares to leave the European Union, a Holyrood committee has said.

The Economy Committee said an "increased effort" is needed to encourage firms to export both to the EU and beyond.

The recommendation is contained in its initial report on the impact of Brexit on exports, inward investment, and labour and employment rights.

The report states: " Trade promotion must be the focus of the Scottish Government going forward both within the EU and beyond.

"More needs to be done to support businesses in exporting across the world. Now is the time to maximise on opportunities in growing markets such as China and India."

The committee also recommended that given Scottish businesses export more to the rest of the UK than to the rest of the world, the Scottish Government should continue to support firms in trading elsewhere in Britain.

It also acknowledged that access to the European single market is "vitally important" to many firms, recommending the G overnment works to help businesses that are dependent on exporting to the single market to continue to operate and grow as the Brexit negotiations progress.

The SNP administration has submitted proposals to the British Government aimed at keeping Scotland in the European single market even if the rest of the UK leaves it, arguing that exiting the trading bloc will "damage our economy and undermine our wider social interests".

Economy Committee convener Gordon Lindhurst said: "The committee is calling on the Scottish Government to re-double its efforts in encouraging and supporting businesses to export.

"The need to support SMEs is more crucial than ever. The committee cannot over-state the importance of continuing to promote the growth of indigenous businesses, and it is vital that the right balance is struck between supporting foreign direct investment and home-grown businesses."