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French Duncan

Leading American attorney urges Scottish businesses to trade with USA

16 February 2017

A leading US Attorney has advised Scottish businesses that they should not be concerned about trading in America, despite some of the headlines which have emerged in recent weeks regarding the new US President Donald Trump.

Robert C Dewar - a Scot who completed his law studies at Edinburgh University and is now an Attorney with American law firm, Williams Mullen in Richmond, Virginia - said Scottish businesses should continue to trade with the US as normal. 

Speaking in front of a business audience at an event at Scottish accountancy firm, French Duncan’s Glasgow headquarters on Wednesday, Dewar said:

“Understandably, the political situation in the US will be leading many businesses to question whether they wish to continue trading, or even begin trading with the US – particularly with so much uncertainty in the European marketplace.

“However, in reality they have very little to be concerned about.  First and foremost, the US economy is growing and businesses should be assured that both US consumers and businesses have money to spend on foreign goods and services.  While some of the headlines about Trump may be negative to say the least, business activity is gaining momentum and growth is expected to continue.  And, with a population of 350 million, the US represents a significant market that will not be turning away any company proposing to bring additional economic activity.

“Second, although many of Trump’s policies may be questionable, he has a clear agenda to stimulate business growth and increase economic activity.  On a large scale, he has talked of rolling back legislation such as the Dodd-Frank Act, which imposed oversight on financial companies in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.  For smaller businesses, he has expressed an interest in reducing regulatory requirements to a third of their current size.  Taking this into account, the prospects for business appear more than positive.

“Third, while Trump’s executive orders may be damaging to some, none of his suggested restrictions are aimed at Scottish or British companies.  On the whole, Scottish companies are viewed as honest, entrepreneurial and trustworthy trading partners in the US and are well received throughout the country. The US remains a place where Scottish business will continue to be welcome and companies should use that positive relationship to exert influence where possible.

“Fourth, a central focus of Trump is to put America first – he has created a new wave of nationalism which helped him to secure the White House. Such nationalism may have adverse consequences for foreign companies, but there are ways around that.  One option for Scottish businesses trading in the US is to create a subsidiary with a US trading address, phone number and US styled officer titles to create the perception for those trading partners that they are dealing with an American entity.  

The process of creating a US entity is quick and relatively cheap to complete and provides a gateway to essentials such as bank accounts, tax ID numbers and immigration routes for employees.

“Finally, Scottish companies must think about the many young people that supported Bernie Sanders in the primaries. This generation represents an educated and highly motivated portion of the electorate that will play a significant role in shaping the future of the country.  For both tech companies and more traditional businesses, a key piece of advice is to find a smart, motivated work force in the US that will share the company’s vision of building businesses that serve the populace and embody the American Dream.”

Robert Dewar was speaking at a business event at French Duncan’s Glasgow office on Wednesday 15 February.  French Duncan is a Scottish accountancy firm with offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Hamilton, Dumbarton and Stirling.

Colin Abercrombie, Partner at French Duncan said:

"Many of our clients are looking to markets in the US and logically this leads many of them to consider opening subsidiary organizations based there. International expansion of this nature can be fraught with challenges for an SME business and it is vital that they have suitable, on the ground, advisers in their target location. It is also vital that the chosen US agents work closely with existing UK advisers."