Scotland's Vision for Trade: annual report - March 2022

Our first annual report on Scotland's Vision for Trade, outlining the range of specific actions that we have taken over the past year and our continued ambition to make trade-related decisions based on the principles of inclusive growth, wellbeing, sustainability, net zero and good governance.


Our Vision for Trade

In January 2021, the Scottish Government published Scotland's Vision for Trade, (the Vision): a strategic policy framework to guide the decisions we make on trade in a way that supports our wider ambitions for the Scottish economy, people and the planet. The Vision:

  • Sets out five principles which underpin our trade decisions and relationships: inclusive growth, wellbeing, sustainability, net zero and good governance. These are the guiding principles that we use to weigh up, sometimes difficult, decisions on trade.
  • Positions our approach to trade within a broader economic, social and environmental context – so we consider the strategic role of trade and how it contributes to wider governmental ambitions, in line with our National Performance Framework.
  • Sets out the key challenges and opportunities related to trade and identifies the range of levers that can be used to address or take advantage of them. This allows us to identify concrete actions that the Scottish Government can take to improve the trading environment, while applying our principles. Where the relevant levers currently sit with the UK Government we are able to identify specific actions for it to take.
  • Recognises that the growth in international trade has contributed to a rapid increase in growth and living standards globally, and the importance of championing Scottish trade interests by speaking out for free trade and against protectionism. It recognises that doing so is compatible with continuing to regulate legitimately in the public interest, balancing economic, social and environmental aims.
  • Facilitates a longer-term perspective and approach, that allows us to take principle-based decisions in response to any shifts in the global trading system, transcending specific circumstances or particular challenges.

Our five trade principles

  • Inclusive Growth
  • Wellbeing
  • Sustainability
  • Net Zero
  • Good Governance

...are applied to today’s eleven biggest trade challenges for...

Scotland’s Economy

  • 1. Influencing the trading environment – goods, services and investment
  • 2. Digital trade
  • 3. Cooperation on regulation while regulating in the public interest
  • 4. Global value chains

Scotland’s People

  • 5. Fair work and the winners and losers from international trade
  • 6. Supporting public services through trade
  • 7. Balancing cost, value and protections for consumers

The Planet

  • 8. Climate, nature and trade
  • 9. Coherence of trade with international development outcomes
  • 10. Multilateral trading system and dispute settlement
  • 11. Scotland’s role as a trading partner

In the Vision we committed to publishing an annual trade policy review to report on implementation progress. This report sets out the work we have undertaken so far – both in terms of utilising Scottish Government levers and engaging with the UK Government to utilise theirs – and outlines how we plan to build on this progress.

While the ongoing delivery of A Trading Nation, Scotland's Export Growth Plan, promotes Scottish exports in target markets where we have competitive advantage and targets provision of support to Scottish businesses to increase exports, this report focusses on other levers available to influence the trading environment so the necessary conditions for export growth are in place. In seeking to build the right trading conditions for export growth, in line with our principles, the Vision supports the aims of A Trading Nation. Together, A Trading Nation and the Vision provide a strong foundation upon which to achieve Scotland's National Strategy for Economic Transformation and its aim to strengthen Scotland's position in new markets and industries.



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