GLASGOW Chamber of Commerce has declared it is on the “front foot” in building business links with Europe in light of the Brexit vote after signing a formal partnership with a counterpart organisation in Italy.

Chamber bosses, including president Neil Amner and chief executive Stuart Patrick, travelled to Milan to sign the memorandum of understanding (MoU) with The British Chamber of Commerce for Italy (BCC) this week.

It gives members of the Glasgow chamber the opportunity to build trading links with companies in the north of Italy, where the bulk of the BCCI’s 350-plus members are based.

The MoU follows talks between the two organisations after last year’s Milan Expo and a visit to Glasgow by Christopher Prentice, the British ambassador to Italy, in December. The discussions also involved Richard Rollison, the Scottish Government’s head of international trade and investment policy.

Mr Amner, a partner with law firm MacRoberts, said: "The signing of this agreement could not have come at a more appropriate time, with the uncertainty that the Brexit vote has brought to future trading relationships with Europe. This agreement shows that we are on the front foot in maintaining business links with Europe and are not sitting back waiting on others to make decisions.

“Glasgow and the West of Scotland has always had close links with Italy, with many businesses owned and run by people of Italian descent. However this collaboration formalises that relationship and facilitates access for our members to a very important market in the prosperous northern half of that country.”

Two forthcoming joint trade events, one in Glasgow and one in Milan, will be among the first fruits of the MoU, allowing the members of the two organisations to forge relationships. The MoU comes after the Glasgow chamber forged a similar agreement with Manhattan Chamber of Commerce in May.

Mr Patrick said: “This agreement came about as a direct result of a Scottish presence at the Milan Expo, and shows the importance of Scottish business attending such important events and developing face-to-face relationships. This is an exciting development for us, and I'm confident that Glasgow businesses will benefit from it in the near future.”