Scotland to boost its share of exports with Middle East

Feb 12, 2001 01:00 AM

Scotland is seeking to capitalise on its historical links with Middle East countries to boost its share of exports to the region. Despite its size, Scotland's exports of manufactured goods in 1999 were worth over £ 19 bn ($ 30 bn), almost 12.5 % of the UK's efforts.
But the Middle East and North Africa accounted for less than 5 %. Sales to Iran were just £ 14.8 mm. Scottish Trade International, which is dedicated to promoting trade overseas, is targeting the Middle East as a priority export.

Scotland's economy is built on the foundations of shipbuilding and heavy industry, but over the last 20 years, it has undergone dramatic change due to the development of North Sea oil. Local oil and gas service companies, created on the back of the offshore industry, are said to be looking to break out of the boom and bust cycle associated with the volatility of crude prices and broaden their horizons, including to the Middle East.
As an example, HRH Partners, which produces well-side geology services, is looking to big producers, like Iran and Iraq, to capitalise on supplying drilling composite logs to replace systems currently done by hand. The Weir Group, Scotland's biggest engineering company, also sees Iran and Iraq as potential markets in such areas as prestigious water, power and pipeline projects.
"Iran and Iraq will be key markets for everybody if they open up and everything goes to plan," Weir Pumps international business manager, David Manson was quoted as saying. "Lots of contractors are now waiting on a decision about sanctions. Both countries will be big in future because they need so much infrastructure development and specialist equipment," he said.
The threat of US sanctions has not stopped the Weir Process Group from signing two contracts already this year to supply pumping equipment to Iran's Bandar Khomeini petrochemicals special economic zone.

Source: IRNA
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