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[ 29-04-2010 ]

Exporting will lead Scotland on the path back to healthy economic growth, but Governments at Westminster and at Holyrood have roles to play in ensuring that the recovery gathers pace through targeted support to help boost international trade.  That is the message from Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC), as she expanded upon the messages in SCC’s Down to Business 2010 policy document.  Mrs Cameron said:
“Scotland’s exports bring in £35 billion each year to our domestic economy, and with many of our current and prospective trading partners emerging from recession, Scottish businesses have the opportunity to take full advantage of rising demand.  Our survey evidence and official government data have shown strong trends in exporting even during the recession, but we need to ensure that more businesses, in both the manufacturing and service sectors, are able to take full advantage of the rewards available in new international markets.
“Government has a role to play in easing the path to exporting.  Here in Scotland, Scottish Chambers are working in partnership with Scottish Development International to harness exporting talent from around Scotland and utilise this to provide firms looking to export with the expertise needed to take their business to the next level.
“Westminster, however, must take a positive stance in terms of providing incentives to export.  We believe that there is a strong case for reducing Corporation Tax levied on SMEs exporting over 40% of their turnover to a maximum of 20%.  Taken together with the off-setting of the costs of market entry, easing access to trade credit insurance and tax incentives for market research, these measures would open up the paths to exporting and, by encouraging stronger growth,  should lead to increased taxation revenues and higher levels of GDP growth in the medium term.
“Accompanying all of these measures, we need to re-examine the way in which Scotland, our brand and our businesses are projected overseas.  The current approach is fragmented and needs to be more business-led if we are to maximise our economic potential.  Greater internationalisation is necessary if we are to reach the levels of growth our economy requires.  Business is prepared to take the lead, but whichever Party or Parties win the General Election must recognise that action is necessary to secure a boost in Scottish exporting and work with the Scottish Government to deliver this.”