Global Connections Survey: 2019

Information and links for respondents to the Global Connections Survey 2019.

The Global Connections Survey is the only official trade survey of Scottish businesses. It helps us to measure key indicators on the state of Scotland’s trade and it informs policy decisions to grow our international trade.

We appreciate 2020 was incredibly challenging for businesses due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the measures put in place to limit the spread of the virus. Many businesses would have also been working hard to prepare for the end of the EU Exit transition period. In recognising these challenges and pressures faced by businesses, we made the decision to delay the 2019 survey from summer 2020.

However it’s important that we now collect this data to help us understand trading patterns of Scottish businesses in 2019. 

Who should complete this survey

This page is relevant to those businesses who received an invitation to take part in the 2019 Scottish Global Connections Survey from the Scottish Government.

We have provided an example of the letter sent to businesses inviting them to take part in the survey and you can read the guidance for businesses on how to complete the survey.

Completing the survey

To complete the survey using the online system please go to the following website:

You will be asked to enter your username and password, which you will find in the letter inviting you to take part.

You do not need to complete the survey in one go as you can save what you have entered using the ‘save’ option and go back using the log-in details above. Once you have provided all the information that you are able to, you should use the ‘save and submit’ option to send your completed return to us.

If you forget your password or need it reset please email

Other ways to complete the survey

We also offer the option of completing the survey by PDF or Excel which can then be emailed to

We have provided an electronic PDF or Excel return should you wish to use them.

How to complete the electronic form

  • please enter your Unique Reference Number (URN) in the space provided at the top of the form. The URN can be found on the top left hand side of your survey letter (below your address) or on the bottom left of each page of the survey form. If you received an email then use the Reference number given at the top of the email. We require this number so we can track who is replying to us.
  • once you have completed the form, please click on the 'SUBMIT FORM' button at the end of the form and this will be attached to an email message in your operating system to send.  If this does not work, you can save the completed PDF or Excel workbook, attach it to an email message manually and send to
  • we have provided guidance on how the different questions in the form should be completed for different types of businesses 

For further help, please email

Uses for this information

The analysis from the information provided last year is included in the National Statistics publication, Export Statistics Scotland, and is also used to monitor the National Indicator on ‘International Exporting’. This data also supported the Scottish Government’s export growth plan, A Trading Nation. Continuing to collect this survey data will allow us to update the analysis, monitor the actions from this and continue to inform Scotland’s international trade policy. The survey data is also one of the key sources for Scotland’s export data which can be explored using our Export Performance Monitor.

The data will also provide us an important baseline for understanding the impacts of the Coronavirus on trade patterns and data for future trade policy analysis.  Ultimately, this data allows us to identify opportunities to develop policies that help more Scottish businesses to export more goods and services to more markets.


All the information provided is kept strictly confidential by the Scottish Government and the partner organisations with whom we may share your responses (Scottish Development International, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the Office for National Statistics). Specific company details and any data where it may be possible to identify an individual company will not be published.

Companies that do not export

We recognise the unprecedented challenges facing businesses in the current climate. To make sure the results are accurate all types and sizes of organisation are included in the sample for this survey, including those businesses whose head offices are located outside Scotland. Even if you have no international exports, your response is still valuable to us.

Length of time to complete survey

The median time for companies to complete the survey in 2018 was 30 minutes. If your company does not export, the form will take a shorter time to complete.

Contact information

If you have any queries relating to the survey please email us at and we will get back to you as soon as possible. As the majority of Scottish Government staff continue to work from home in line with current guidance, this is the best way to contact us. However if you wish to call please do so on 0300 244 0330. If no one is available, you will have the option to leave a message and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.

We are grateful to all businesses that take the time to respond to the Global Connections Survey.

Read the guidance for businesses on how to complete the survey.

Sample invitation letter for the GCS

GCS guidance notes

GCS survey (PDF)

GCS survey (Excel)


If you have any enquiries relating to this publication then please contact us at:


Telephone: 0141 278 4466

Trade Statistics
5th Floor Atlantic Quay 5
150 Broomielaw
G2 8LU

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