A virtual event is set to be held to boost trade links between Scotland and France.

The online event next month will promote export opportunities for Scots firms – building on the traditional ties between the ‘Auld Alliance’.

Industry leaders, sector heads and other senior commerce representatives will provide advice on how firms in Scotland can take advantage of opportunities that exist in the French market as part of ‘La French Day’ on Tuesday, 7 September.

Organised by Scottish Development International (SDI) and specialists at Scottish Enterprise in partnership with the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, the free online event will focus on four specific sectors where Scottish businesses can flourish in France: renewable energy, food and drink, healthcare/ life-sciences and digital finance (fintech). 

Scottish Government trade minister Ivan McKee will deliver the opening address at the engagement.

France is Scotland’s top international export destination country outside of the United States, with an estimated £3bn of exports in 2018. 

David Decrock, country director France at SDI, said: “In a context where international travel remains challenging, La French Day aims to bring a piece of France across to Scotland.

“The Franco-Scottish economic relationship is of great importance and encompasses a number of business sectors. SDI’s role is to make sure that we create the conditions to allow even greater cooperation between our respective companies.

“La French Day is a crucial element of this strategy and we look forward to highlighting the opportunities that exist in France for companies across Scotland.”  

The event aims to raise awareness of the French market following the twin-challenges of Covid-19 and the end of the Brexit transition period. France is an important market for Scottish exporters: between 2002 and 2018, the annual value of exports from Scotland to France has grown by more than 60%.

Confirmed speakers at La French Day include representatives from influential organisations such as the French financial market regulator, AMF, the French Hospital Buyer Network and companies including Locogen France and Genesis O&G.

SDI has trade specialists based in Paris, assisting Scottish companies with export opportunities across the food & drink, renewable energy and low carbon and tech (cyber, space and fintech) sectors. The Scottish Government also has an Innovation and Investment Hub based in Paris, which works with local organisations to develop trade opportunities in France for Scottish firms.

Scottish Enterprise is partnering with the Scottish Chambers of Commerce on the event. The network, which represents more than 12,000 companies and over 50% of Scotland’s private sector workforce, works closely with Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Government to boost Scotland’s exporting performance.

Dr Liz Cameron OBE, chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, who will also be speaking at the event, added: “France is an incredibly important economic partner for Scotland and this event will provide Scottish businesses with a great opportunity to gain insights into how they can develop and grow their business, across a range of sectors, in the French market.

“Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, Scottish Chambers of Commerce has successfully delivered 25 virtual trade missions, securing £3.3 million worth of sales to date and £8 million worth of sales in the pipeline, demonstrating that contracts and orders can be won. 

“Sector specific and thematic workshops from French market experts will give Scottish businesses the knowledge and confidence they need to take advantage of the opportunities available and any business with an international outlook and a hunger to grow should sign-up.” 

Visit here for registration.