First Minister leads business delegation to Berlin
25 June 2018, 07:08 | Updated: 25 June 2018, 07:10
Nicola Sturgeon is leading a Scottish delegation to Germany to improve business links with the country.
The First Minister said the "ongoing risks posed by Brexit" make trade trips to Europe more important.
The Scottish Government has been taking steps to enhance Scottish business in the EU with hubs in Berlin, Brussels, Dublin, London and soon to be Paris.
The Scottish Development International (SDI) delegation to Berlin includes 12 companies looking to grow their businesses in Germany or aiming to break into the country for the first time.
Companies represented include Thistly Cross Cider of East Lothian, Edinburgh-based compostable packaging manufacturer Vegware, and Port Glasgow company Kare Orthopaedics.
Scotland currently exports around £2 billion of goods annually to Germany, its fourth largest export market.
During the trip, Ms Sturgeon will also meet Niels Annen, Germany's minister of state at the Foreign Office, in the first ministerial meeting between the Scottish Government and the new German administration.
The First Minister said: "The ongoing risks posed by Brexit only reinforces our determination to promote Scotland in Europe and around the world. That is why trade delegations such this are so important.
"The Scottish Government has taken steps enhance our presence in the EU. SDI is doubling its representatives in Europe, while our newly opened hub in Berlin will soon be followed by Paris, adding to our EU offices in Brussels, London and Dublin.
"Scotland is a hugely attractive place for companies in Germany and throughout the EU to do business with and invest in. Indeed, 155 German companies currently employ 18,000 people in Scotland.
"We cannot allow a hard Brexit to destroy that, or to stifle innovative Scottish firms looking to expand. That is why we continue to set out the unequivocal case for continued membership of the Single Market and Customs Union."