Global Scotland: trade and investment strategy 2016-2021

Our eight-point action plan to increase trade and investment in Scotland.

Ministerial Foreword

John Swinney

John Swinney MSP
Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Constitution & Economy

Scotland is a trading nation. For hundreds of years, merchants and businesses from across Scotland have created jobs and wealth by selling goods and services across the globe. In the medieval period, long before Germany was a single state, Scottish traders had a keen interest in doing business with the northern ports of Germany. In the nineteenth century Glasgow was arguably the manufacturing capital of the world. Now, Scottish engineering and energy companies like the Wood Group and Weir Group carry on that tradition of Scottish companies being global players.

Over the decades, Scotland has overcome the challenges of changing markets and changing investment patterns. Today, as a small open economy in a rapidly changing and globalised world, our ability to create a more productive and fairer Scotland depends more than ever on trading with the rest of the world and on attracting investment into our economy, our businesses and our assets.

We want more businesses across Scotland to sell more goods and services to more markets. We want existing investors to develop, grow and expand in Scotland . And we want new investors to see Scotland as a place where they can thrive and contribute to a stronger and more inclusive economy.

Scotland’s values, strengths and assets, especially our skills, knowledge and innovation base, will help us respond to and benefit from the opportunities and challenges of the global economy and enhance Scotland’s role as a Good Global Citizen. The Strategy sets the course for doing that – not just through information, advice and support for businesses and investors, but also through a much broader agenda for internationalisation and a One Scotland approach to working together, in Scotland and overseas, to achieve our ambition.

That approach and that wider agenda for internationalisation and supporting Global Scotland are at the heart of our plans for Innovation and Investment Hubs in Dublin, Brussels and London.

More broadly, the Strategy outlines key actions and commitments to boost Scotland’s export performance and to attract inward, capital and risk investment to Scotland. The essence of this is captured in our eight point action plan for trade and investment. This includes a Digital First approach to information, advice and support for businesses; a long term plan to build Scotland as a global innovation centre to attract new forms of investment; working with existing investors to help them develop, grow and expand; and a strategic approach across Government and partners to attract capital investment to large scale projects.

Global Scotland is about taking the strengths of Scotland’s economy and the strength of our business base to the rest of the world - and bringing the rest of the world to Scotland. Working together we can achieve that.

John Swinney MSP
Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Constitution & Economy


Email: Jamie McGarvey,

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