Scotland: a trading nation

A plan for growing Scotland's exports.

6.0 Introduction

A Trading Nation has been developed to drive actions to grow the value of Scotland’s exports. The level and type of support offered to businesses will be aligned to the segmentation strategy outlined in this plan. To achieve our ambition we will require the whole of the export ecosystem to support businesses whether they are new or experienced exporters. In parallel, the wider business support system will continue to help businesses to grow so that they may become export ready.

Scottish Development International

Many of the actions are focused on Scottish Development International as the primary delivery arm of our enterprise agencies, responsible for providing in-depth export support to Scottish businesses, both in Scotland and overseas. 

In Scotland, their expert international trade advisers will work intensively with our ‘solid performing’ exporters and ‘global by birth’ businesses as well as seeking to rouse the ‘sleeping giants’ that could transform Scotland’s export performance.

SDI will:

1. Separate into specialist divisions for export and investment attraction work building on a successful pilot in the food and drink sector.

2. Shift the bulk of their resource into priority markets that offer the biggest opportunities for Scotland’s sectoral strengths by reorganising the SDI footprint to capitalise on priority markets.

3. Focus on growing existing exporters (by diversifying into new markets or new products) and high potential early stage firms (in industries like digital and life sciences).

4. Develop new support to help more ‘global by birth’ businesses scale up rapidly.

5. Integrate more closely with enterprise agencies to help more domestic businesses graduate to exporting. 

6. Continue to work with Chambers, Business Gateway, sector leadership bodies and others to grow new exporters. 

7. Increase the digital offer of training, advice and resources through the new enterprise agencies’ single access portal.

8. Boost the skills of relevant businesses through export qualifications helping to deliver step change in sales and marketing skills.

In addition to SDI, there are other important partners we will work with to deliver some of the actions in this plan.

Scottish Chambers of Commerce

The Scottish Chambers of Commerce, through its network of 26 member Chambers, represents 11,000 businesses across Scotland. Many of these businesses are SMEs and the reach that the Chambers network offers gives us the opportunity to reach these businesses, support their export efforts and build further resilience across Scotland’s economy. The Chambers already offer a range of services to support Scottish businesses to internationalise and this plan identifies a number of actions which can be taken to support the Chambers to extend this support and make it more effective.

The Scottish Chamber network can provide complementary support to businesses that wish to export by drawing on the connections across the whole network in Scotland, regardless of the region where that business is based and by drawing on the connections in the relevant Chambers in-market.

Locally, the Chambers network offer a variety of services to help support businesses develop their market entry preparation that can include the following:

  • Business solutions
  • Supply chain management
  • Market research support
  • Market entry plan development
  • Import procedures and activities
  • Online business support
  • Finding a buyer, supplier or partner

Several local Chambers also provide international trade documentation, including:

  • Certificates of Origin
  • EUR1 & ATR1 Certificates
  • Verification of trade documents
  • Advice on international trade requirements

We have engaged with business organisations in Scotland in the development of this plan and will continue to work with them to deliver the ambitions within it, as well as shaping future approaches. 

Back to top