Steps to increase trade with Scotland’s third largest export market will be progressed by the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP during a two-day visit to France this week.
The First Minister will a lead a delegation of technology companies who will showcase their products and services to French partners, academics and customers in Paris.
Latest figures show France is Scotland’s third largest export market worth an estimated £2,400 million to the Scottish economy each year.
During the visit, the First Minister will address the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Assemblée Nationale, the lower house of the French Parliament on Tuesday, meet Minister for European Affairs Nathalie Loiseau and officially open the Scottish Government’s France Hub.
The First Minister said:
“The relationship between Scotland and France is one of the oldest in the world.
“France is our third largest export market and French-based firms play a key part in our economy, with investments in financial services and our food and drink industry. By promoting trade and investment, and officially launching our new hub in Paris, the SNP Government is showing that Scotland is open for business and an attractive place to invest, visit, work and live.
“Despite the challenges we face as a result of Brexit the SNP Government will continue to do all we can to show the world that we are an open and outward looking country.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“Since the Auld Alliance was signed in 1295 Scotland and France have had a strong and positive relationship, excepting the Napoleonic and one or two other wars, and it is important to build on historic ties.
“This is a crucial moment to strengthen ties with our friends and after doing so in Canada last week, I am delighted that the First Minister is forging our own, independent relationships with France as Scotland is dragged out of the European Union.
“Instead of taking the isolationist view of the Tories in Westminster, the SNP Government is looking outward and keen to continue to make it as easy as possible for Scottish businesses to continue working with partners abroad.”
The First Minister will also speak and take questions at the Assemblée Nationale on Tuesday 19 February. She was invited to address the 73-strong Foreign Affairs Committee by Marielle de Sarnez, the chair of the committee and former French Minister for European Affairs.