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Scotland’s Vision for Trade

Economic, social and climate ambitions at heart of approach.

The blueprint for how Scotland will do business around the globe has been published by Trade Minister Ivan McKee.

Scotland’s Vision for Trade sets out five principles which will guide all future decisions on international trade: Inclusive Growth, Wellbeing, Sustainability, Net Zero and Good Governance.

These principles will be used to address key trade challenges facing our economy, people and the planet.

The Scottish Government will partner with businesses which share these principles and work to improve their trading environment, promoting fair work and a just transition to net zero.

To support this, the Scottish Government is also calling on the UK Government to:

  • protect the NHS – which the UK Government must make a red line in any trade negotiation
  • make compliance with fundamental human rights and the Paris Climate Agreement absolute limits for the initiation of FTA negotiations
  • prioritise building on the Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the EU to uphold high standards, for example through Mutual Recognition Agreements for key goods sectors

Mr McKee yesterday said:

“Scotland’s Vision for Trade sets out our stall for the future and is clear about the kind of country we want to be. How we trade is as important as what we trade and our values-based approach will guide how we do business around the world and ensure that people, businesses and other governments know who we are and what we represent as a nation. 

“But this trade vision is much more than just a statement of our guiding principles. It identifies 11 key global trade challenges and how Scotland will use the levers at our disposal to respond in practical terms now and in the future, and articulates how we will assess our progress on meeting these challenges on an annual basis.

“This publication comes during an unprecedented period of disruption and uncertainty. The pandemic continues to impact our health and wellbeing, our businesses and the economy. At the same time, the UK Government’s last minute Brexit deal, which takes Scotland out of the world’s largest Single Market and Customs Union, will be hugely damaging for our country and our economy.

“In this challenging context, trade is all the more important as a means to deliver sustainable, inclusive growth and contribute to a wellbeing economy.

“Despite our consistent and powerful case for a formal and comprehensive role for devolved administrations in all stages of the development of future UK trade arrangements, we have been frustrated by a lack of meaningful engagement by the UK Government. To conduct a successful trade policy a broader range of tools is needed, so our Vision for Trade also asks that the UK Government use all levers at their disposal to support Scotland’s economy, people and the planet.”


Read Scotland’s Trade Vision

Scotland’s five trade principles are: Inclusive Growth, Wellbeing, Sustainability, Net Zero and Good Governance. These have been applied to 11 of today’s biggest trade challenges affecting Scotland’s economy, people and the planet, including:

  • influencing the trading environment
  • digital trade
  • winners and losers from international trade
  • supporting public services through trade
  • balancing cost, value and protections for consumers
  • climate, nature and trade
  • multilateral trading system and dispute settlement
  • Scotland’s role as a trading partner

In line with our Programme for Government commitment, we will ensure that our trade support for the Oil and Gas sector will be conditional on measures assisting the sustainable energy transition.

We will consult with the industry on our proposal to end all Scottish Government overseas trade backing and promotion activities solely focused on fossil fuel goods and services by COP26. There will be legitimate exceptions to the withdrawal of support where it is clear that the work is essential for a fair and just energy transition, such as decommissioning.

In implementing this, we will work with industry and consider the outcome of the UK Government consultation, including aligning with UK exemptions in so far as they fall within Scottish Government trade support and promotion activities.


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