Scottish Enterprise funding: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

1) What steps the Scottish Government takes to ensure that any firms exporting overseas, which receive funding through Scottish Enterprise, conduct business in a way that is compatible with its framework for ethical international policy.

2) What consideration the Scottish Government has given to ensuring that any Scotland-based firms that sell arms and receive funding through Scottish Enterprise are working within its framework to provide ethical leadership on global issues.

3) What recent discussions the Scottish Government has had with Scottish Enterprise regarding the implications of its framework for ethical leadership on global issues for the agency’s funding of companies that export arms.


1) Scotland’s Vision for Trade’, published on 26 January 2021, sets out the Scottish Government’s principles and values for the trading relationships it wants Scotland to have. This provides a framework for making decisions about international trade in a way that enables Scotland to fulfil its role as a good global citizen.

The framework set out in ‘Scotland’s Vision for Trade’ reinforces the principles already set out by Scottish Government in its Guidance on Due Diligence: Human Rights, and Scottish Enterprise’s own 2019 Customer Due Diligence Procedure. This procedure includes how the company conducts itself overseas. Such checks are based on a rigorous process and independent evidence.

The Scottish Government engaged with Scottish Enterprise in developing the Vision and communicated ‘Scotland’s Vision for Trade’ and its principles to Scottish Enterprise, including through a series of presentations for all staff who work on Scottish Enterprise’s international priorities. Within their 2021/22 business plan, Scottish Enterprise commits to ensuring the principles set out in ‘Scotland’s Vision for Trade’ are incorporated into their approach and delivery.

The Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise has written to the Scottish Enterprise Chief Executive to set out priorities, highlighting a values-based approach to trade and investment, as set out in ‘Scotland’s Vision for Trade’.

2) Scottish Enterprise does not provide funding for the manufacture of munitions. The support provided is mainly focused on helping firms to diversify and develop civilian applications for their technology and ensure Scotland continues to benefit from the thousands of jobs in the defence, aerospace and shipbuilding sectors.

3) The licensing of arms exports is a reserved matter over which the Scottish Government has no control. We have impressed upon the UK Government our expectation to act responsibly as regards export licensing.

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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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