US trade delivering for Scotland as Aberdeen hosts second transatlantic dialogue


The UK will today (25 April) host the second transatlantic trade dialogue in Aberdeen aimed at boosting Britain’s £200 billion trade partnership with the US.

Against a backdrop of Aberdeen’s flourishing tech scene and world-leading energy sector, the dialogue will focus on agreed priority areas including digital and innovation, green trade, supporting SMEs and supply chain resilience.

The Secretary of State for International Trade Anne-Marie Trevelyan will discuss the importance of trade for creating jobs and spreading economic opportunities throughout the UK – a key part of our levelling up agenda.

The dialogue will convene leaders from across Scottish, central and local government, a wide range of businesses as well as trade unions and civil society groups such as Trades Union Congress.

International Trade Secretary, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, said:

This dialogue gives us a platform to explore more modern, digital ways of trading. It will identify and resolve barriers to trade to make it cheaper and easier for businesses in Scotland and throughout the UK to do business with our US friends.

As two leaders in green innovation, it also gives us the opportunity to harness trade to tackle shared challenges such as climate change.

The Trade Secretary met with leaders on Sunday evening (24 April) from Scotland’s food and drink industry including Walker’s shortbread and Clootie McToot.

Attendees also included US spirits company Brown-Forman which owns three of Scotland’s top distilleries GlenDronach, Benriach and Glenglassaugh and employs hundreds of people in the UK. The firm hailed the lifting of tariffs on US whiskey thanks to the recent resolution of the S232 steel and aluminium tariffs dispute, and revealed it is now planning a multi-million pound investment in its Scottish facilities .

Ahead of the dialogue, Trevelyan and Tai will visit offshore energy SME, Enpro-Subsea in Aberdeen where Trevelyan will highlight the UK’s energy strategy aimed at securing energy security and independence, while we support the transition from fossil fuels to new technologies. The company demonstrates that achieving our environmental goals must go hand-in-hand with an evolving North Sea industry.

Discussions at the dialogue will provide a solid foundation for further engagement with the US. This includes ongoing work at a state-level such as mutual recognition of qualifications as well as continuing to remove barriers to trade.

The Government has already helped lift the ban on UK exports of lamb and beef and resolved the Large Civil Aircraft dispute, which removed 25 percent tariffs on Scotch whisky, resulting in huge wins for Scottish producers and exporters.

UK Government Minister for Scotland Iain Stewart said:

We’re delighted to host today’s talks in Aberdeen, marking a positive development in our already strong trade relationship with the US. Improving our partnership will create new high-quality opportunities for businesses in Scotland, including from our thriving food and drink, tech and energy sectors.

At a time when we face immense global challenges, joining with our friends in the US to lift barriers, improve communication and encourage new and innovative ways of working together will support jobs across Scotland and beyond, benefiting businesses of all sizes.

Latest figures show the importance of transatlantic trade to Scottish workers, businesses and industry:

  • Nearly a quarter of the nation’s services exports are to the US
  • Scotch whisky exports continues to play a vital role in wider UK-US trade, with almost two thirds of beverages exported to the US coming from Scotland
  • The US is Scotland’s number one foreign investor, according to EY
  • US-owned businesses support over 100,000 jobs, generating nearly £50 billion for the economy

Shevaun Haviland, Director-General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said:

The UK and US are natural trading partners. These dialogues are an opportunity to build on that relationship and set new ambitious standards on sustainable trade. In a shifting and uncertain world, we must also take this opportunity to reinforce the resilience of our supply chains and stabilise prices.

Smaller businesses make up the majority of our membership, and the UK economy, so it’s vital they are given a voice in these talks and that they get to reap the benefits on both sides of the Atlantic. Supply chain disruption and soaring inflation have reduced the operating margins of many small firms to almost nothing, so reducing the costs of trade with the US would be a huge boost for them. This would then help communities right across the UK to see the benefits that improved trade with the US could bring.

Allan Hogarth, Executive Director of the Scottish North American Business Council (SNABC) said:

The SNABC is very much looking forward to participating in the Aberdeen session of the Transatlantic Dialogue, building on the success of the Baltimore session last month. These discussions will cover vital areas to the Scottish, UK and US economies – it is a great opportunity to make sure Scottish voices are heard on this, our single biggest export market, and to try and make it simpler for us all to continue to prosper and strengthen the transatlantic relationship for our mutual benefit.


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