The opportunities for Scottish businesses exporting to Latin America were highlighted in a Caribbean Roadshow organised by the Department for International Trade.
HM Trade Commissioner for Latin America and the Caribbean Jo Crellin said that £12.8 billion worth of UK goods and services were exported to the region but that there was potential for so much more.
More than 50 Scottish businesses attended the event in Glasgow to hear about an area which, combined, is he world’s third largest economy after China and the US.
Crellin said after the event: “I was delighted to meet so many innovative Scottish businesses during the Latin America and Caribbean Roadshow.
“Latin America and the Caribbean have vibrant and dynamic economies, so the roadshow was a valuable opportunity for Scottish businesses to develop stronger trade links outside Europe and make their mark across the world.”
Home to more than 650 million people, Latin America and the Caribbean includes 48 countries and territories with a growing middle-class population, resulting in greater demand for high quality products and services.
Scottish Secretary David Mundell said: “A number of Scottish companies are already working in and exporting to South America very successfully.
“I have visited South America in recent years to promote Scottish business interests and to help launch Innis & Gunn in the Paraguay market.
“I know from speaking to businesses out there that Scotland’s skills, products and services are highly regarded, and I’ve seen first-hand the opportunities that exist. I’ve also witnessed the support on offer from DIT and our diplomatic networks.
“So I would encourage businesses to explore new export opportunities in Latin America and the Caribbean, and meet the demand for high-quality Scottish products and services worldwide.”
One Scottish company already trading successfully in the region is offshore marine and energy business Whittaker Engineering which shared its experience of exporting successfully to Mexico over the last 10 years.
Founded in 1984, the family-run business has 125 employees based in Stonehaven and 60 in Ciudad Del Carmen, Mexico.
They also export to Ghana, with plans to explore opportunities in Guyana, South and West Africa.
Ken Whittaker, managing director of Whittaker Engineering, said: “There has been an influx of oil and gas companies moving to Mexico, so a lot has changed in the last year alone.
“The market has opened up, and Mexico has a huge, young population which means there are many skilled workers available.
“Exporting has definitely given us a wider customer base and helped us improve our expertise by working in different areas within the oil and gas industry.
“DIT has helped us grow our network of contacts through trade shows, and now exports to foreign markets account for 20 per cent of our annual turnover.
“The more Scottish companies export to Latin America and the Caribbean, the stronger the supply chain, so we’re always happy to share our knowledge with other businesses.”