Celebrating Scotland’s ties with North America

External Affairs Secretary to visit USA

External Affairs Secretary Angus Robertson will visit Washington, D.C. and New York City this week to promote Scotland to North America as a place to live, work, study and do business. He will also take part in a range of other diaspora and cultural events, including this year’s Tartan Day parade in New York City.

Tartan Day (6 April) was officially declared by the US Senate in 1998 to honour the contributions that American Scots have made to the US. The days leading up to the annual parade up 6th Avenue have since become known as ‘Tartan Week’ with a range of events held across the USA to celebrate Scottish arts and culture, as well as traditional music, food and drink.

The External Affairs Secretary’s engagements will include:

  • meetings with tech companies who are investing or planning to invest in Scotland
  • a meeting with the World Bank to discuss Scotland’s funding for inclusive education projects in partner countries in Africa
  • a Scottish Development International showcase of high-quality Scottish food and drink products to US buyers and distributors with the aim of increasing export sales
  • a discussion hosted by the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society to discuss their new research into Scottish links of enslaved Americans and their descendants – a project supported by the Scottish Connections Fund
  • cultural events including the Tartan Day Tattoo in Washington, D.C., New York’s Tartan Day Observance in Bryant Park, the Kirkin’ o’ the Tartan at the Brick Church on the Upper East Side and the annual Tartan Day parade up 6th Avenue with this year’s Grand Marshal Dougray Scott.

Mr Robertson said:

“Tartan Week is an opportunity to celebrate the Scotland’s historic ties with North America, which flourish to this day through cultural exchange, trade, investment and tourism.

“The US is Scotland’s most important international trading partner, as our largest export destination and source of inward investment, and our third biggest market for non-EU international students, with over 6,300 US students choosing to study here in 2021/22. I want to encourage greater connections, and greater trade and investment between our countries, which is why I’m meeting a range of existing and potential investors during my time in the US.

“As a showcase of Scottish culture and heritage in the US, Tartan Week is also a major opportunity for our culture and creative sectors to reach new audiences and markets, in line with our recently published international culture strategy, and our Scottish Connections Framework, which aims to strengthen Scotland’s links with our diaspora throughout the world.” 


The Scottish Connections Framework was launched by the Cabinet Secretary during the 2023 Tartan Week to expand Scotland’s links and networks with Scottish people living elsewhere in the world, those with Scottish heritage, people who have previously lived in Scotland, including alumni, as well as those with professional, business, cultural or other links to Scotland.

Inspiring Connections: Scotland's International Culture Strategy - EasyRead version - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)

Scotland – US trade stats

  • Scottish direct exports to the US were worth £5.14 billion in 2021.
  • The USA is Scotland’s highest International Export Destination, receiving 16% of Scotland’s total exports.
  • The US is the top export market for Scotch Whisky, with export value of £978m in 2023. This is up 24% on 2021, when exports were valued at £790m.
  • Roughly one fifth of all Scottish Salmon export mass is exported to the US, at £113m in 2023 up to September.
  • There are 655 US owned enterprises in Scotland, employing 114,220 people, and a turnover of over £35.5bn.


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