By Liam Bryce
Scottish secretary David Mundell is set to travel to Burma and Singapore this week as he looks to promote Scotland’s business interests abroad.
The Conservative minister will discuss oil, gas and whisky during talks with business leaders from the two Asian countries, the Scotland Office has confirmed.
Mr Mundell is expected to promote Aberdeen’s oil and gas expertise when he meets industry figures from Burma, a nation which has much of its resources located in deep water.
He will also speak with the nation’s energy minister regarding initiatives being supported by the UK’s Government prosperity fund.
Mr Mundell said: “Scotland and Burma’s oil and gas industry have a long history and a bright future.
“Burma has the opportunity to forge a modern industry that brings local jobs and economic growth. At the same time, Scottish companies are set to benefit, using their world class innovation and expertise to build stronger partnerships and win new contracts.
“I look forward to helping to drive forward new partnerships between Burma and the Scottish oil and gas sector.”
In Burma, the Scottish secretary will also raise the question of lifting import bans on foreign spirits as he attempts to forge a potential new market for Scotch whisky.
Mr Mundell will travel to Singapore for the second half of his visit, and the minister is expected to encourage Scottish industries, such as whisky, to consider Singapore as a potential investment and export partner.
Rosemary Gallagher, Scotch Whisky Association head of communications, said: “We are pleased to see the Scottish Secretary supporting the Scotch Whisky industry in overseas markets.
“We hope we can build on the recent growth of Scotch in Burma by the market being opened further to spirit imports. There have been breakthroughs already in the market – in 2014, Scotch was granted collective trade mark status ensuring legal recognition and protection, and exports to Burma grew to £2.5 million last year, up almost 123% on 2015.”
Mr Mundell will also deliver a lecture on the Government’s post-Brexit trade plans.