Ryder Cup boon to US trade links
One of the world's most dynamic economic hubs has been reaching out to Scotland during the Ryder Cup, in search of trade and partnerships.
Business Correspondent/Personal Finance Editor
Tuesday September 30, 2014
Greater Minneapolis St Paul (MSP) in the centre of the US, scene of the next Ryder Cup in 2016 at Hazeltine, is home to 17 Fortune 500 companies, which it says is "the highest per capita concentration of any major market in the US".
Though only the 13th largest conurbation in the US, its annual gross domestic product of $228 billion ranks Greater MSP's economy ahead of Portugal and on a par with Ireland, and it has the lowest unemployment rate in the US at 4.2 per cent - effectively full employment.
It has the country's third biggest concentration of financial services, and world-leading economic clusters in food and water technology, and intriguingly for Scotland in life sciences - where transatlantic relationships were strengthened by last week's golf.
Mike Langley, head of economic development for Greater MSP, said: "The golfing connection gave us the idea of connecting the dots. The target audience for the Ryder Cup both in Scotland and in Minnesota is our target market, business decision-makers."
He added that the referendum outcome "gives us the opportunity to re-examine the substance of Scotland as part of the UK".
After meeting the Scottish Life Sciences Association in Edinburgh, Mr Langley said: "We are a global leader in both medical technology and healthcare…teaming up with association partners and friends around the world has been pretty fruitful in terms of bilateral trade and investment, and helps our companies grow internationally."
The region's healthcare giants include Medtronic, 3M and St Jude Medical, which has a tie-up with the tiny formerly Lanarkshire-based Aortech.
"The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) cycles for some product development and introduction tend to be very strict, and longer than European standard," Mr Langley said."So US companies look for opportunities to partner and collaborate, which is potentially a benefit for Scottish companies to become more involved and to partner and joint venture in specific developments." The US region leads the country in life science research and development, conducting almost as much as all European countries combined.
Mr Langley said: "I would say to Scottish companies they could become more aggressive in looking at the US market, it makes a lot of sense and it is the main reason we are here - also I love golf.
"Greater MSP has the most highly educated workforce in the US with 92 per cent having a high school diploma, 25 per cent holding a bachelor's degree, and 80 per cent of graduates staying in the region after graduation.
Mr Langley commented: "Regions should have a strategy to invest in and promote industry sectors and clusters where they have an opportunity for growth….Our economy is growing faster than many others in the America and we see it accelerating even more."
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