Building our international connections

Scotland has a positive global reputation built on a strong identity and culture and on globally recognised products and services.

We will use Scotland's reputation to pursue engagement with select international markets and sectors, and to build long-term relationships with international investors.

Networks and relationships

Working through our existing networks, including the GlobalScot Network, we will build on the cultural and historic ties between Scotland and the rest of the world to:

  • explore how international networks can support our trade and investment ambitions
  • strengthen our engagement with international university alumni community
  • use events and conferences, at home and abroad, to connect with key organisations and individuals

Global footprint

The Scottish Government, Scottish Development International (SDI) and VisitScotland collectively have a permanent presence in more than 30 locations in 19 countries.

Many organisations, including Scottish universities, businesses and organisations such as Chambers of Commerce, have permanent and temporary international connections.

We aim to make the most of our global footprint by working with public, private and academic partners. We will review ours and SDI's international office network to ensure that resources are being effectively focussed and explore more opportunities for joint working.


We aim to remain competitive by ensuring that internationalisation is a key part of our policies and activities. This includes empowering Scots with the confidence and skills to compete for international opportunities.

We will do this by:

  • investing in infrastructure that provides the physical and digital connectivity needed for our businesses to grow
  • delivering our Infrastructure Investment Plan and the National Planning Framework, which identifies key developments and planning policies to guide investment and growth
  • fulfilling Scotland's National Transport Strategy 2016, which involves supporting the development of the freight industry, expanding the Greenock Ocean Liner Terminal quayside and reducing Air Passenger Duty by 50% by 2021
  • investing in research and development, including through the Scottish Funding Council's support for Innovation Centres in areas including sensor technology, precision medicine and big data
  • providing all children an opportunity to learn a first additional language from Primary 1 and offer a second from Primary 5
  • working with Scotland's colleges and universities to attract international talent to our educational institutions
  • negotiating with the UK Government over visa issues that are impairing our ability to attract and retain international talent
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