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SCDI facilitates roundtable on post-Brexit trade

UK Government press release

Scottish businesses and members of the public have the opportunity to shape Britain’s post-Brexit trade policy.

International Trade Minister George Hollingbery will today (Wednesday 5 September) urge people across Scotland to take part in four consultations on the UK’s future trading relationships during a meeting with businesses in Edinburgh.

Exports of goods to the US, Australia, New Zealand and the Trans Pacific Partnership countries were worth £6 billion for Scotland last year and accounted for £1 in every £5 of Scottish goods exports.

It is crucial that the Scottish people have their say about how the UK should capitalise on new opportunities to forge trading relationships with the rest of the world as we leave the European Union.

As part of this process, the Minister will today open a roundtable event in Edinburgh in partnership with the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI) to seek the views of Scottish businesses, business groups and NGOs.

Trade Policy Minister George Hollingbery said:

 “For the first time in over 40 years we will be able to determine the terms of our trade. That means new trade agreements with our key partners, as well as putting the UK at the heart of the world’s fastest growing regions such as Asia.

“We are committed to forging new trading relationships that create jobs, boost our vital industries and benefit consumers across the whole of the UK. I am delighted to visit Edinburgh today, urging people across Scotland to seize the opportunities in front of them and make their voices heard. So please visit consultations.trade.gov.uk to take part.

“Now is the time for everyone to get around the table to have a constructive debate that put the needs of the Scottish people first.”

Matt Lancashire, Director of Policy and Public Affairs at SCDI, said:

 “SCDI welcomes the opportunity to facilitate this important consultation between the Minister for Trade Policy and our members on Future Trade Agreements.

“It is important that Scottish businesses and civic organisations have the opportunity to input into UK trade priorities for key markets, to support inclusive economic growth across Scotland.

“We will be encouraging our wider membership and key stakeholders to respond to the online consultations to ensure their views are heard.”

Martin Bell, Deputy Director for Trade at the Scotch Whisky Association said:

 “Accounting for a fifth of all UK food and drink exports, the Scotch Whisky industry welcomes the opportunity to share our priorities for future UK trade negotiations with these key trading partners.

“We also believe that the UK potentially joining CPTPP would give Scottish exporters access to the benefits of a high quality, ‘state of the art’ trade agreement covering 11 growing economies.

“Commitment to open markets is particularly important at a time when the trade liberalisation that has enabled Scotch to deliver jobs and growth over many years is coming under threat.”

Today’s roundtable is the first of 12 consultation roundtables held throughout the UK to seek views from interested parties as we deliver an approach that works for the whole of the UK.

Members of the public can submit their views as part of the online consultations which are open until 26 October and last for a total of 14 weeks, which is two weeks longer than the European Union’s consultations on new free trade agreements.

Exports of Scottish goods last year were worth £28.7 billion and grew faster than the rest of the UK, up by 19% on 2016. The export of Scottish services was worth an additional £15.7 billion in 2015, the latest year in which data is available.

More than one fifth of Scottish goods exports – £6 billion worth – are covered by the consultations, with the USA being Scotland’s second biggest market accounting for 12% (£3.4 billion) of goods by value and the CPTPP countries accounting for a further 9% (£2.6 billion) of goods by value.