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North Ayrshire teeing up new business and forging strong links with US

North Ayrshire Council is hoping a world-class event at Dundonald Links can help strengthen and develop their relations with key international partners.

This year’s Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open started today (Thursday) with a world class field.

And the Council will use the event to network and make connections with partners from across the globe.

While the likes of  Henrik Stenson, Ricky Fowler and Rory McIlory were teeing  off early yesterday,  the local authority were already off and running with their first official event of the week.

The Council’s elected members,  Chief Executive Elma Murray, key members of the Economy and Communities service, Val Russell, the Chief Executive of Ayrshire Chamber of Commerce and business partners were holding a conference at the nearby Gailes Hotel with Susan A. Wilson, Principal Officer of the U.S. Consulate General Edinburgh.

The US remains an important export market for North Ayrshire and for a large number of companies across a range of the region’s growth sectors, such as life sciences, engineering and food and drink.

The area has benefited from investment from US companies such as global science and technology giant Merck who employ dozens of local people

At the networking lunch Ms Wilson spoke about the importance of trade links between the two nations and the opportunities that exist.

During her visit, she had the chance to see one of North Ayrshire’s thriving businesses in action.

Irvine-based Golphin has created an innovative golf club especially for children and young people to support their development and some local young people demonstrated their products. 

Principal Officer Wilson and the party then visited to RUA / Culzean Medical Devices, a life sciences company who manufacture and export health devices across the globe, with a significant and growing proportion of their business in the USA.

Councillor Alex Gallagher, Cabinet Member for Economies,  said: “Both the Men’s and Ladies’ Scottish Open are being held at Dundonald Links so the eyes of the world will be on us. It offers us a unique opportunity to showcase both the beauty and economic potential of our area, and to develop links with partners and markets across the globe.

“The golf has allowed us to invite an array of potential investors and business associates at the same time. It is the perfect opportunity for us to sell North Ayrshire.  There is plenty to sell and we are determined to make the most of this opportunity.

"So there is plenty in place but we want to nurture these relationships and see how far they can take us. We were delighted to meet with the US Consul and it was a really worthwhile visit.” 

Principal Officer Wilson said: “I was delighted to visit North Ayrshire and I would like to thank Provost Ian Clarkson for inviting me to learn of the exciting commercial links between the region and the United States.  

“One my main jobs is to promote the essential commercial relationship that exists between the United States and Scotland.  This is a partnership that continues to thrive today, with the U.S. being Scotland’s number one international export destination country, and the United States remaining the number one investor in Scotland. 

“It is wonderful that there is a real appetite in North Ayrshire to do business with the U.S. This was my second visit to the region and I look forward to continuing to work with local stakeholders during my remaining time in Scotland.”

Ms Wilson wasn’t the only international visitor yesterday. Following on from a hugely successful meeting last year, the Chinese General Consul was also at Dundonald Links for further discussions and to meet a raft of local businesses.

On Saturday, the Council will continue to develop their relations in France and build on the unique golfing links they have with their twin town and next year’s Ryder Cup hosts Voisins-le-Bretonneux

Paul Armitage, the Managing Director of the Golf National de France, will be attending the golf as a guest of North Ayrshire Council.

They will be looking to continue discussions that have already taken place to set up a programme of activities over the next 12 months to develop links between young people and widen participation of golf. They will also explore opportunites to enhance business and tourism links between the areas. 

Councillor Gallagher added: “There is incredible potential in North Ayrshire and Ayrshire a whole.

“We are making some really big strides but the golf gives us a real opportunity to build on our global network of contacts and generate new trade and investment opportunities for the area.”

Posted on Thursday 13th July 2017