MPs examine how well UK promotes Scottish trade


The Scottish Affairs Committee in the UK government announced it has launched a new inquiry “examining how Scotland is promoted internationally by the UK Government, and how – if necessary – this can be improved.”

Scottish whisky and salmon are the UK’s two biggest food and drink exports.

The committee said it will be “delving into the investment in Scotland, particularly around trade and exports, and will be looking at what the recent and upcoming free trade agreements mean for Scotland’s economy.”

The value of global exports of Scotch Whisky grew 19% to £4.51 billion in 2021, according to the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA).

Scottish salmon exports recovered to near-record figures in 2021, with overseas sales increasing to £614 million — up 36% compared to 2020 and just below the £618 million recorded in 2019.

The inquiry will also investigate how Scotland’s “cultural offer” is promoted overseas by the UK government, and the lasting impact of international events held in Scotland, such as COP26, in making Scotland an appealing place to invest.

The committee said it is “keen to uncover how Scotland’s products and interests are represented overseas through the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Offices’ embassies and missions around the world.”

It said it will examine the role of the UK government’s Scotland Office in these endeavours and “how it coordinates the promotion of Scotland.”

Scottish Affairs Committee chairman Pete Wishart said: “At home in the UK, we know Scotland’s extraordinary offering: from enormous cultural events of international significance to the finest food and drink.

“From whisky and fish to professional services, Scotland routinely punches above its weight on exports.

“The international appeal is there: 40% of Scottish exports – excluding oil and gas – go to countries all around the world, with the remaining 60% going to elsewhere in the UK.

“Our  committee will be examining how well Scotland is promoted internationally, particularly to investors that may be considering Scotland as a place to do business.

“Is there more we can do, and can we attract even more investment to Scotland?”