The NBCC Forum “Doing Business with Scotland” was organised in close cooperation with the Scottish Development International (SDI) in The Hague on the 20th of May 2019.
The purpose of this event was to provide an opportunity to understand the ambitions behind the strategy and opportunities to grow Dutch-Scottish business relations.
Scotland and the Netherlands have been close trading partners since the 16th Century and the Netherlands are Scotland’s second most important export destination (often via Rotterdam which has been Scotland’s port to the world since the 17th century). There are over 190 Dutch enterprises with a subsidiary in Scotland, employing a total of 20,000 people.
Our keynote speaker Minister Ivan McKee MSP, minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation for Scotland, highlighted the multiple opportunities Scotland has to offer for trade and investments, particularly in the areas of energy (oil & gas, renewables, ancillary services), technology, software, fintech, life sciences and tourism, as well as food & drink.
Sjef Arets, VP Manufacturing Europe/China at DSM, shared the history of their business in Scotland and the role that the SDI played in it. DSM has strong local connections with Scottish enterprises and with the SDI. Lyne Biewinga, director at NBCC, introduced and moderated the event.
The Scottish Development International, the Economic Development Agency of the Scottish Government, acts as a door-opener to Scotland. Among others, it provides financial incentives for companies who invest or conduct R&D in Scotland and works closely with Scottish businesses and foreign investors, helping them to grow, export and innovate.
It was invigorating to experience the active Q & A session which gave the opportunity to exchange first-hand information with Minister Ivan McKee and understand how DSM has become a successful exporter from Scotland. The networking drinks thereafter provided equally an occasion to connect personally with the delegation of SDI attending the forum.