I am pleased to present this first annual report of the Scottish Government's Vision for Trade, and to outline the range of specific actions that we have taken over the past year in line with the approach we set out in January 2021.
The report underlines our continued ambition to make trade-related decisions based on the principles of inclusive growth, wellbeing, sustainability, net zero and good governance.
Scotland is part of a global trade environment and we need to recognise and react to global trends and developments as we seek to ensure that the trading environment for our businesses and consumers is supportive of our wider goals for our economy, people and the planet.
The Vision for Trade was published in a period of unprecedented economic disruption and uncertainty, as Scotland faced the dual shocks of Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic. In that context, the Vision offered a longer term perspective and a coherent approach to trade, setting out the guiding principles that should underpin our trade decisions and relationships.
One year on, while the global economy begins to recover from the effects of the pandemic, Russia's invasion of Ukraine has brought a new global crisis, highlighting the potential fragility of our interdependent global trading systems. Trade and economic relationships with Russia have been a particular focus of the co-ordinated response to this crisis. In Scotland we have sought to be guided by our principles-based approach to trade, as we stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people.
Earlier this month we published our National Strategy for Economic Transformation, which sets out the priorities for Scotland's economy, as well as the actions needed to maximise the opportunities of the next decade to achieve a wellbeing economy. Implementing our Vision for Trade is directly contributing to our aim to strengthen Scotland's position in new markets and industries, alongside generating new, well-paid jobs from a just transition to net zero.
This report meets our commitment to be transparent on progress in implementing the Vision for Trade, by assessing our own trade policy decisions and our contributions to those of the UK Government against our principles. Our progress shows that we are putting our words into action.
We have used the trade-related levers available to us to make tangible progress. This includes our use of trade to advance progress towards net-zero, for example, ending overseas trade support and promotion activities solely focused on fossil fuel goods and services by COP26. The range of steps we have taken to improve the trading environment are tangible examples of the benefits our approach to trade policy can bring to Scotland's businesses.
Where levers are currently reserved to Westminster, we have pressed the UK Government to act in a way that acknowledges the interests of Scotland and is supportive of our economy, people and the planet. However, the current constitutional arrangements and the reluctance of the UK Government to meaningfully engage with the Scottish Government on trade policy, notably the negotiation of new Free Trade Agreements, limits what we can do.
I look forward to continuing to engage with stakeholders in Scotland and beyond on this Vision for Trade, as we continue to position Scotland as a successful trading nation, known as much for how we trade as what we trade.
Ivan McKee MSP
Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise
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