The UK government and Scottish Chamber of Commerce have issued a call to Scottish businesses to make their views heard on post-Brexit trade agreements.
The Scottish Chamber of Commerce will act as a representative for businesses across Scotland on the newly-formed Strategic Trade Advisory Group, chaired by UK Trade Policy Minister George Hollingbery, which will advise the government on post-Brexit free trade arrangements with non-EU nations including Australia, New Zealand and the USA. Hollingbery told the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI) on Friday that negotiations on the UK’s international trade agreements would be conducted with the support and input of the Scottish government and Scottish businesses after Brexit.
Liz Cameron OBE, Director and Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: “In such uncertain times, it is essential that Scottish businesses have a voice on the future of the UK’s trade policy. The Scottish Chambers of Commerce Network plays a central role in driving business growth across Scotland’s communities, with a significant focus on maximising international trade opportunities. As part of our commitment to the Strategic Trade Advisory Group, we will represent the business views from across the Scottish economy as the UK seeks to secure new trade agreements. We will ensure Scottish businesses are ready and able to take full advantage of expanding their trading footprint in markets around the globe.”
Scotland, which voted predominantly to remain in the EU in the 2016 Brexit referendum, is considered a major export and investment hub. In the last year 146 new international investment projects based in Scotland created around 4,000 jobs across the country; while the Scottish food and drink industry is a significant contributor to international trade. 41 bottles of Scotch whisky per second are exported to other countries, bringing in £4.7 billion (€5.44 billion) in the last year.
The SCDI’s Director of Policy and Public Affairs Matt Lancashire said: “Protecting and strengthening our international trading relationships is essential for a more productive and inclusive Scottish economy. We believe that a commitment to open, rule-based system of trade will deliver growth and prosperity, and we have been encouraging the UK to explore joining the CPTPP of growing economies. We welcome this opportunity for Scottish businesses and civic organisations to discuss the UK’s trade priorities with Minister Hollingbery at our Forum. We have met regularly with the Minister and will continue to make the views of our members known to the UK and Scottish governments and the Strategic Trade Advisory Group to inform and influence future trade negotiations.”