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First Minister Alex Salmond is visiting the west coast of the United States to drum up business for Scotland

First Minister Alex Salmond is visiting the west coast of the United States to drum up business for Scotland

First Minister Alex Salmond is visiting the west coast of the United States to drum up business for Scotland

Leading companies in the US state of California have been told by Alex Salmond that Scotland is a "land of major opportunity" for investment.

More than 70 firms were approached by the First Minister who travels to the US west coast for a four-day trade mission.

He will visit Los Angeles, Sacramento and San Francisco, also taking in the world premier of the new Pixar animation Brave, set in a mythical Scotland.

Mr Salmond said: "Scotland is a land of major opportunity and it is open for business. We have a long and impressive track record in life sciences, sciences, technology and creative industries, developing an environment where ingenuity and innovation can create jobs and wealth for Scotland.

"Even without our offshore oil and gas reserves, Scotland has the highest GDP in the UK outside London and the South East.

"We have five universities in the world's top 200. We rank first in the world in research productivity per unit of GDP and second in the world in research impact.

"Business operating costs for key functions can be almost a third lower here."

The campaign includes print and online advertising in the Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Business Times, New York Times and San Francisco Chronicle.

Anne MacColl, chief executive of Scottish Development International, said: "It is clear that Scotland remains a location of choice due to our winning combination of qualities, including our highly skilled and educated workforce and efficient operating costs.

"This is an excellent opportunity to highlight Scotland's competitive advantages to some of California's biggest companies."

PA