Select Committee on Scottish Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Annex C


  1.  British Trade International (BTI) is the combined FCO/DTI organisation set up following the Wilson Review of Export Promotion in 1999 and formally launched on 31 May 2000. It comprises Trade Partners UK, which deals with trade development, trade promotion and outward investment: and Invest UK (formerly the Invest in Britain Bureau, IBB) which promotes the whole of the UK as a location for inward investment.

  2.  While Trade Partners UK has the trade development and promotion remit for the entire UK, it has worked closely with Scottish Trade International (STI), Wales Trade International (WTI) and Trade International Northern Ireland (TINI), in developing the National Strategy for International Trade Development and Promotion. Each of the devolved Administrations has had a seat on the BTI Board since its inception and is represented at senior official level. This forum continues to prove essential for overseeing the development of BTI's trade development and inward investment agenda.

  3.  Devolution has not resulted in any change in the distribution of resources available for trade development and promotion. BTI's working relationship with STI is perhaps the least changed since devolution because of its pre-existing strength. Work is progressing well to achieve co-branding of all trade development and promotion work with STI, WTI and TINI.

  4.  STI, in common with WTI and TINI, has its own system of local support and service to offer businesses in Scotland specific help and to call upon what BTI offers through Trade Partners UK nationally and through our extensive network of overseas diplomatic missions. About 1,400 man-years are engaged in trade promotion work overseas at a cost of £142 million in over 200 posts and roughly 140 overseas markets.

  5.  In addition to STI's local support and services, businesses in Scotland may also apply for grants under any of the national schemes that Trade Partners UK offers to UK businesses. Services include the Export Explorer scheme, the Outward Mission Service, Support for Exhibitions and Seminars Abroad (SESA), assistance with market sector reports and market research, an export sales led service, grants towards overseas markets and export vouchers.

  6.  BTI officials in our posts abroad are frequently involved in making bilateral representations to host governments on resolving trade barrier cases as listed in Annex B. Additionally, and as noted above, BTI works extensively with UK companies to develop markets for UK products. In this regard, a special emphasis has for many years been Japan: the importance of this market for the UK was recognised many years ago, leading to the creation of the Exports to Japan Unit (EJU), now known as the Japan Unit, about 20 years ago. Japan is a good, if rather high-profile, example of UK export promotion activity including that for Scotch whisky for whom Japan was the fifth largest export market in 2000 with a value of £126.85 million[31].


Japan Unit (JU) Collaboration with the Scotch Whisky Association

  The JU is currently in discussion with SWA on a whisky qualification scheme for bartenders to be test-marketed in Japan from summer 2001. The scheme aimed largely at the Japanese market would involve a desk-based course of study and an examination, leading to the award by the SWA of a Certificate in Whisky. It is being managed in Japan by the head of the European Business Community Liquor committee. It is expected to be ready for launching in spring 2002.

  JU provides advice from time to time to Japanese trading companies and department stores on accessing information on Scotch whisky suppliers via the SWA. JU seeks advice from SWA on itineraries for visiting Japanese journalists.

Other activities relevant to Scotch whisky

  Following the closure in 2000 of the SWA information office in Tokyo, BE Tokyo has assumed the function of liaison point for Scotch whisky information in Japan.

Scottish Trade International

  A team from JU visited STI in December 2000 to discuss areas of collaboration on consumer goods. The current focus of STI activities is on the knitwear sector, with a minor interest in food and drink, for which Europe is the target market. JU's services are made available to the Scottish regions and a limited number of Tailored Market Information Reports have been commissioned. Outward trade missions have resulted with companies such as Gleneagles Spring Water, Burn Steward Distilleries and the Orkney Brewery Ltd participating.

Department of Trade and Industry


31   SWA statistical report 2000. Back

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