Business prospering in our common language

The US is Scotland’s biggest inward investor with 500 American-owned enterprises in the country
The US is Scotland’s biggest inward investor with 500 American-owned enterprises in the country

By Allan Hogarth

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Scotland has no closer ally than the United States. Jointly, our two countries act to meet the challenges we face locally, nationally and globally. Our bilateral cooperation reflects the common language, ideals and democratic practices of two nations built over the centuries. More than five million Americans identify themselves as of Scottish descent.

And, despite recent uncertainty, we can afford to be upbeat. Because, whatever the challenge, our economic relationship is a source of great strength, stability and opportunity. We are the single largest investor in each other’s economies. A million British people go to work every day in the UK for a US headquartered company, just as a million Americans go to work every day to work for a British headquartered company in the US. The US is Scotland’s biggest trading partner worth $5.7bn. The US is Scotland’s biggest inward investor with 550 US-owned enterprises in Scotland employing 102,810 with turnover of $42bn. These business activities of the thousands of companies that day in, day out, trade and invest across our borders strengthen the ties between our respective economies and bring prosperity to our people.

Any moves to strengthen trade and investment ties will be welcomed by the transatlantic business community, as will any easing of regulatory burdens on the thousands of businesses operating in towns and cities on both shores.

The US offers a huge market; different clusters of highly-developed industries across the country, a common language, a highly skilled workforce, and special historic ties with the UK. As a result, the US is the UK’s top destination in trade and investment. The investment relationship between the US and UK has made strides since the new millennium, with the value of Foreign Direct Investment stock held by UK investors in the US increasing 45.9% between 2005 and 2014. Every day a million American workers get up in the morning to work for a UK company headquartered in the US.

And there is a considerable amount of information available to businesses looking to make the leap across the pond. SDI have 5 offices across the US in Boston, New York, Chicago, Houston and San Jose. The Department of International Trade (DIT) offers expertise and contacts through its extensive network of specialists in the UK, at the British Embassy in Washington DC as well as the British Consulates General in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and San Francisco. The US Commercial Service at the US Embassy in London has an open phone line for companies who want to make an investment in the US.

The SNABC works closely with the Scottish and UK Governments, and – through the chapters of the British-American Business Council we – offer first-hand information and experience for companies who are looking to grow on either side of the Atlantic.