Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo joins UK Government to bang the drum for Scottish exports to India

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The Band of the Royal Regiment of Scotland. The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Photo: Cpl Ben Maher - UK MOD © Crown copyright 2021

Minister Malcolm Offord joined forces with the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo to bang the drum for Scottish exports on a visit to Mumbai.

As part of a packed three-day programme, UK Government Minister for Scotland Lord Malcolm Offord has been meeting with leading Indian business and political figures to promote business and cultural link, supported by performances from the world-famous Tattoo.

On Thursday (21 October), Scottish Tattoo performers were joined by Indian Bollywood dancers for a stunning collaborative performance at the historic St Xavier’s College. The cross-cultural event, designed for maximum impact on India’s huge social media networks, was supported by the Scotch Whisky Association and organised as part of the UK Government’s GREAT campaign.

India, the world’s sixth largest economy, is a growing market with tremendous potential, but currently makes up just 0.7% of Scottish exports. In 2019 a Scottish Government report identified India as one of the top 20 markets for Scottish export growth.

Minister Malcolm Offord, accompanied by Tattoo pipers, also launched two high-profile trade showcases at Mumbai port.

On Friday (22 October), he inaugurated the Defence and Security Industry Day on board one of the UK’s Type 45 destroyers, with attendees from companies including BAE Systems, Kongsberg Maritime, Babcock and Thales, all of whom have strong bases in Scotland.

He later took Indian representatives out to visit the carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, which was assembled in Rosyth, and invited Indian suppliers, including Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited and Larsen & Toubro, to visit UK shipyards. Companies are hoping to bid for up to £1 billion of contracts as part of India’s P-75i Submarine programme.

On Saturday (23 October) Lord Offord opened the GREAT future showcase, featuring UK business innovators in future mobility, healthcare and life sciences, technology, environment and clean-growth. Innovations on display included Polymateria, which is enabling plastics to biodegrade with no harm to the natural environment. Their work is the result of collaboration between the Indian Government’s Central Institute of Plastics Engineering & Technology (CIPET) in Bhubaneshwar and at Impact Solutions laboratories in Grangemouth, Scotland.

Minister Malcolm Offord said:

It is an honour to promote Scottish trade interests in India, and I am delighted to be joining the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, as we highlight the huge amount Scotland has to offer.

From food and drink, to defence and security, life sciences, education, and more, I am looking forward to meeting with representatives from a wide range of sectors.

The UK Government is building stronger links with countries across Asia, and Scottish jobs and businesses will benefit greatly from these relationships.

India is of particular interest to Scotland’s whisky producers. According to the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), whisky exports to India amounted to £102 million in 2020, with further potential for growth if tariffs were reduced. The SWA joined Minister Malcolm Offord for events as part of the delegation.

International Director at the Scotch Whisky Association, Ian McKendrick, said:

India is the Scotch Whisky industry’s number one trade priority. Unlocking growth by reducing the current 150% tariff will mean more jobs and investment across the UK, and would benefit Indian consumers. Securing an early deal to reduce the tariff on Scotch Whisky is a win-win.

These events are an opportunity to lay the groundwork for future trade talks, and underline the transformational impact that reducing the Scotch Whisky tariff would have on the industry, with the potential for over £1 billion to be generated in additional exports over five years.

The UK Government’s High Commission in India works closely with organisations like the Scotch Whisky Association to support Scottish interests in India. The Department for International Trade also partners with Scottish Development International developing trade links between Scotland and India.

The trade visit coincides with the HMS Queen Elizabeth and her Carrier Strike Group visiting Mumbai as it returns from its Freedom of Navigation deployment to Asia. The UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, is also visiting India to meet counterparts and discuss mutual interests and co-operation between the countries. She is expected to join Lord Offord in Mumbai at a reception event later today.

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