Business in Brussels thrives for Scottish seafood companies, even as Brexit uncertainties loom
The 42 Scottish seafood companies exhibiting at this year’s Seafood Expo Global event in Brussels, Belgium from 24 to 26 April are hoping to build upon the rapid growth seen in previous years for the country’s delegation. Ultimately, the collective is looking to surpass the estimated GBP 33 million (USD 46 million, EUR 37 million) made in deals at last year's global expo, and broaden the reach of Scottish exports around the world, it said.
The delegation has already experienced a record number of meetings with buyers from Singapore, China, Thailand, Japan, North America, and from across Europe in 2018, according to Seafood Scotland, a non-political organization geared toward increasing opportunities for the country’s seafood sector. Plays for new export contracts are in abundance both for the 21 companies exhibiting within the SEG18 Scottish Pavilion, as well the additional 21 companies exhibiting independently, Seafood Scotland said.
“The Scottish shellfish, salmon, whitefish, and pelagic producers and growers that invest in coming to Brussels are serious about doing business. They ... have the opportunity to meet influential buyers from all over the world, who are seeking reliable supplies of clean, sustainable and traceable fish and seafood – and Scotland can meet that brief better than most,” said Patrick Hughes, who heads Seafood Scotland, which coordinates the delegation alongside Scottish Development International.
“The impact will show in next years’ figures – but put simply, what happens here over three days will have a significant impact on incomes, jobs, and local communities across Scotland,” Hughes added.
Both Seafood Scotland and Scottish Development International noted the importance of using Seafood Expo Global, the largest seafood trade event in the world, as a platform to share Scotland’s globally recognized portfolio of seafood products.
“This event is a fantastic opportunity to showcase Scotland’s globally acclaimed seafood products and bring some of our most ambitious exporters together with retail and foodservice customers from around the world,” said Susan Beattie, head of food and drink at Scottish Development International. “This type of exhibition can make a real difference to companies looking to make those all-important connections with global buyers and it’s great to be able to support companies on this journey.”
This year, Scottish Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity Fergus Ewing joined the delegation at Seafood Expo Global, providing a “significant boost” to trading activity by helping to attract political figures and influential international buyers interested in sourcing fish and seafood from Scottish companies, according to Seafood Scotland.
“It’s great to have the opportunity to showcase Scotland’s world-famous seafood products to buyers across the globe, at what is the biggest annual event in this industry,” Ewing said. “Scottish seafood exports were worth GBP 944 million [USD 1.3 billion, EUR 1.1 billion] last year – making a big contribution to a record GBP 6 billion [USD 8.4 billion, EUR 6.7 billion] year for food and drink exports. That’s largely down to the endeavors of some great Scottish companies who catch, grow and process fantastic Scottish products.
Ewing addressed the United Kingdom's forthcoming split with the European Union in his remarks.
"In spite of the uncertainty being caused by Brexit, our message in Brussels this week is that Scotland is very much still open for business – with the E.U. and other international markets,” he said.
The companies in attendance at Seafood Expo Global in the Scottish Pavilion this year include: Associated Seafoods Ltd, Caley Fisheries Ltd, The Crab Company (Scotland) Ltd, Dawnfresh Seafoods Ltd, International Fish Canners, JK Thomson, John Ross Jnr (Aberdeen) Ltd, Loch Duart Ltd, Lunar Freezing and Cold Storage Company Limited, MacNeil Shellfish Ltd, Marine Products (Scotland) Ltd, Nor-Sea Foods Ltd, St James Smokehouse (Scotland) Ltd, Scotprime Seafoods Ltd, The Scottish Salmon Company, Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation/ Scottish Quality Salmon, Scottish Sea Farms Ltd, Wester Ross Fisheries Ltd, Whitelink Seafoods Ltd. Plus, Seafood Scotland and Scottish Development International.
The independent Scottish exhibitors are: Ace Aquatec Ltd, Amity Fish Company Ltd, Clearwater (Macduff Shellfish), Cooke Aquaculture, Denholm Seafoods, Downies of Whitehills, FAO27, Fastnet (Highlands) Ltd, Leroy Seafoods AS (Scottish Sea Farms), Lions Speciality Foods, Loch Fyne Langoustines, Marine Harvest Scotland, Multi-Fish NV (Loch Fyne Oysters Ltd), Noble Brothers, Northbay Pelagic Ltd, Ocean Quality, Orkney Fisherman’s Society, Pelagia AS, Scottish Fishermen’s Organisation, Scottish Shellfish Marketing Group, and Thistle Seafoods.