A former chairman of banking giant HSBC, Lord Green said Scotland is well placed to capitalise on developments that should result in booming demand for goods and services in emerging and developed markets in coming years. These include rapid growth in countries like China, where the emergence of a new middle class is fuelling demand for trappings of western life ranging from Scotch to sophisticated investment products.
"I think Scotland is well placed on the global stage," said the minister.
He noted: "The oil and gas sector is an obvious area. The North Sea is known throughout the oil and gas world as a brand. It's the place where deep sea technology was proved."
Noting the strength of Scotland's food and drink industry, the minister added: "Scottish whisky is one of the world's great brands."
He also cited life sciences, renewable energy and financial services as key export industries.
Lord Green said there are "immense" opportunities for Scottish law firms to win business overseas, after addressing an event organised by the Law Society in Scotland on the subject in Edinburgh. Asked whether Scotland would have more chance of success in overseas markets as part of the UK or as an independent country, Lord Green said he believed in the value of the union.
He said: "I think we will take the world on together in a way that is precious and valuable to us all. One specific example of that is the existence of UK Trade and Investments around the world in over 80 countries - something that Scottish firms in all sectors benefit from. Replicating that would be a very considerable cost investment."
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: "The UK Government has a poor track record on trade - with exports accounting for only 32.5% of GDP. The Scottish Government believes independence would provide the opportunity for Scotland to increase its exports to levels seen in countries such as Norway, Sweden and Denmark, all of which have exports accounting for more than 40 per cent of their GDP."
On whether banks were doing enough to support business in the UK, Lord Green said:
"Banks in the wake of the crisis have had to reinvest, refocus on their business banking. I think the industry as a whole had become very focused on retail opportunities and insufficiently invested in their business banking. The good news when I talk to the CEOs of major banks is they perfectly well realise this is an issue they have to address. They have got plans in hand."