Ministerial Trade Board minutes: March 2023

Minutes from the meeting held on 13 March 2023.

Attendees and apologies

Scottish Government

  • Ivan McKee MSP, Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise
  • Chair – Richard Rollison, Director for International Trade and Investment.
  • James McLellan, Deputy Director, DITI
  • Colin Robertson, Head of Trade Support, DITI
  • Scott Strain, Head of Trade Promotion, DITI
  • Victoria Roberts, Senior Policy Executive - DITI
  • Catriona Galbraith, Policy Adviser, DITI

Board Members

  • Eric Balish, ABC Bank
  • Iain Baxter, Scotland Food & Drink
  • David Currie, Proserv
  • Gillian Docherty, University of Strathclyde
  • Simon Forrest, Nova Innovation
  • Richard Knox, Verlume
  • Paul Sheerin, Scottish Engineering
  • Gary White, IQVIA

Scottish Development International

  • Reuben Aitken, Managing Director


  • Iseabail MacTaggart, Deputy Direct of the Department for Business and Trade Scotland Hub
  • Mairi Spowage, Director of Fraser of Allander Institute


  • Russell Dalgleish, Scottish Business Network
  • Marcus Pickering, Summerhall Distillery Ltd
  • James Varga, Direct ID
  • Jan Robertson, Director for Global Trade
  • Sarah Lynagh, Fios Genomic
  • Rachel Gwyon, Director for UK Nations and Agriculture, Food and Drink

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and noted apologies.

Update from the Minister

The Minister welcomed new member Iain Baxter and observer Mairi Spowage.

The Minster provided an overview of the meeting topics and noted the scale of export opportunities for renewable energy in the medium to long-term, sharing the importance of hearing members multi sectoral experience to help navigate government trade policies as renewable energy opportunities mature.

Presentation and discussion on energy transition: capturing the international trade opportunities

Trade and Investment Delivery (TID) officials presented a short overview of the work being undertaken across government to deliver energy transition and summarised:

  • opportunities for Scotland’s export growth emerging from the transition to Net Zero
  • the critical timeline of A Trading Nation activity to support new and emerging export growth opportunities and markets within energy transition such as – development and delivery of Sector Export Plans for Renewables and Hydrogen, showcasing Scotland’s energy transition strengths at upcoming international events (e.g. COP28 and Osaka Expo) and visits and developing Government to Government engagement with priority markets
  • the changing nature of Scotland’s energy production, consumption and supply aligns with the development of export potential in Scotland’s businesses and supply chains

Members discussed the export opportunities from energy transition and noted the following key points:

  • Scottish business networking events and awareness raising of domestic capabilities is key to enabling growth. This would support domestic base collaboration and better enable internationalisation
  • to take advantage of opportunities and develop the necessary supply chain, project  implementation and timelines across renewable projects needs to improve
  • comparison was made to the pace at which other countries move through planning cycles to delivery, and the need to understand how this can be better replicated in Scotland
  • industry standardisation in renewables is essential for skills transferability, expertise development, and companies' abilities to adapt to new applications
  • oil producing markets to be considered as potential priority markets  for net zero given the need to transition and Scotland’s expertise here
  • upskilling and talent retention is key - a talent pipeline to maintain key skills will be important to grasping future opportunities. All noted this is outwith the Trade Board remit but will be a key enabler to supporting future export opportunities and developing supply chains
  • in addition to domestic challenges, macro-economic challenges and the distinction between reserved and devolved powers can cause lack of clarity in relation to future investment
  • the criticality of understanding the international competitive advantages of Scottish companies and supply chains was reinforced. As was the importance of company collaboration through supply chains to create compelling trade propositions. Work currently underway on mapping the supply chain within Scottish Enterprise was seen as both critical and urgent, to ensure international opportunities are seized in time


  • the Chair and Minister welcomed the contribution of members to the discussions. Officials agreed to reflect these points in the development and delivery of relevant Sector Export Plans via A Trading Nation and to return to the Board again to update on this topic


The Chair of the International Networking subgroup provided the Board with a summary of the groups purpose to exploring Scotland's international networks and businesses promotion of Brand Scotland.  The first meeting will take place 16 March. 

The Minister highlighted the Scottish Chambers of Commerce work to support and deliver trade missions internationally through the International Trade Partnership would be an enabler to this work.

The Head of Trade Support shared that Marcus Pickering has been appointed Chair of the Smart Segmented Export Development subgroup and group members will be contacted shortly with an aim to meet end of March.

Business in Parliament event

TID Deputy Director provided an overview of the event with input from Board members who praised the collaboration between industry and public agencies in particular.  Members noted;

  • capitalising on what we have from a natural resource will offer the scalability across sectors we need
  • talent attraction and talent retention is key when considering the interdependencies and connections between sectors

Any other business

The Minister asked the Board to feedback on future meeting topics.

TID Officials to send information to members on the upcoming Glasgow Chambers Innovation and Place event in May.

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