Ministerial Trade Board minutes: December 2022

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 12 December 2022.

Attendees and apologies

Scottish Government

  • Ivan McKee MSP, Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise (IMcK)
  • Chair – Richard Rollison, Director for International Trade and Investment, SG (RR)
  • James McLellan, Deputy Director, DITI (JMcL) (online)
  • Colin Robertson, Head of Trade Support, DITI (CR)
  • Scott Strain, Head of Trade Promotion, DITI (SS)
  • Gurjit Singh, Team Leader Trade Promotion, DITI (GS)
  • Samantha Paterson, Trade Support Manager, DITI (SP) (online)
  • Robert Logan, Senior Policy Officer Trade Promotion, DITI (RL)
  • Catriona Galbraith, Policy Adviser, DITI (CG)
  • Melissa Smith, Private Office (MS)

Board members

  • Eric Balish, ABC Bank (EB)
  • Gillian Docherty, University of Strathclyde (GD)
  • Simon Forrest, Nova Innovation (SF)
  • Richard Knox, Verlume (RK)
  • Sarah Lynagh, Fios Genomics (SL)
  • Marcus Pickering, Summerhall Distillery ltd (MP)
  • Paul Sheerin, Scottish Engineering (PS)
  • James Withers, Food and Drink Trade Adviser (JW)
  • James Varga, DirectID (JV) (online)

Department of International Trade

  • Rachel Gwyon, Director for UK Nations and Agriculture, Food and Drink - Department of International Trade, UK Government. (RG) (online)


  • Reuben Aitken, Managing Director (RA) (online)
  • Jan Robertson, Interim Director for Global Trade (JR)


  • David Currie
  • Russell Dalgleish
  • Gary White 

Items and actions

Welcome back from Chair

RR opened the meeting and welcomed Rachel Gwyon from the Department of International Trade and Reuben Aitken and Jan Robertson from Scottish Development International (SDI) to their first meeting.

Update from Minister

IMcK in opening remarks spoke of the ‘A Trading Nation’ Progress Review and associated Parliamentary Debate: the publication of the Life Sciences Sector Export Plan: and recent Ministerial visits to ADIPEC.

  • the Minister’s forthcoming visit to Singapore and Indonesia was discussed and it was noted that some Board members have good contacts in this area and can help with relationship building. Action: GD to connect DITI officials with University of Strathclyde staff in Singapore 

Update on Trade Board subgroups        

JMcL updated on progress of subgroups. Looking to implement Smart Segmented Export Development and International Networking Group in early 2023 

  • officials will approach board members to be chairs in 2023
  • a sub-group on US markets implemented later in 2023

IMcK acknowledged Board's points that owing to size of US market, US subgroup would need a well-rounded approach to sectors

Trade support - SDI presentation on smart segmented support

Jan Robertson presented on SDI’s smart segmented support to companies. Detailed priority markets, SDI specialists in Scotland and worldwide and focusing on A Trading Nation (ATN). Explained how SDI works alongside partners like Department of International Trade and Highlands and Islands Enterprise. SDI support companies to engage with UKEF and other funding and export support sources, operates Talent Scotland to help companies recruit talent from overseas. JR explained support available to various cohorts in ATN’s smart segmented model.

Discussion centred on: how SDI identifies companies to work with, and how new exporters can access support. JR spoke of ATN data driven process with teams to identify companies and direct them to appropriate support. The value in inward as opposed to outward trade missions was noted as they sometimes allow for more of a Scottish focus than international events. Board highlighted value of international trade events to enter new markets. It was noted that there is an opportunity for SDI to raise awareness of and advertise their services though it would be important that SDI had capacity to respond to any increase in demand.  

International events - discussion on EXPO evaluation

GS presented on EXPO 2022 covering event preparation, results and impacts of EXPO, and lessons learned. Highlighted focused approach to having themed days on key sectors and emphasis on business engagements and making connections

  • agreed that there had been a positive impact from Dubai EXPO with stronger business relations with UAE
  • IMcK and the Trade Board commended Trade and Investment Envoy Nick McLean for his exemplary work on EXPO
  • officials detailed Scotland's approach to promote businesses in Dubai, and Board in agreed that Osaka EXPO presented a good opportunity if business focused
  • Board commented on opportunities presented on international events and the value of Osaka EXPO to support exporters into new markets
  • in addition to time commitment of Osaka EXPO, the Board considered how to engage with Osaka EXPO while meeting Net Zero commitments and exploring options for hybrid engagement as well as direct connectivity
  • points made on building GlobalScot network in Japan
  • acknowledged that advanced preparation required by officials to engage and prepare for Osaka EXPO, and also by businesses to make connections before they travel

Point and agreement in any other business for Board to explore renewables exports in future.

Meeting closed. Next meeting - 13 March 2023 in person.

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