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A Trading Nation

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 30th May 2019.

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Photo of Ivan McKee Ivan McKee Scottish National Party

I think that, if Patrick Harvie had read the report or listened to what I have said so far, he would know that sustainable economic growth is about driving innovation, productivity, wider internationalisation and the exchange of ideas and people, cementing Scotland’s place in the world as a good global citizen and promoting sustainable development.

We have put in place a hard measure because it is an internationally recognised measure. As we develop the process, if Patrick Harvie has a hard measure on sustainable development to put in place alongside the other measures, I would be quite happy to consider that. However, if all that he has is a lot of words because he does not like the concept of GDP, frankly, he needs to go and have a wee think about it. The reality is that the targets in “A Trading Nation” will deliver an extra £500 million to the Scottish Government through the tax take, which we can use to invest in public services. Sustainable economic growth creates higher-value jobs, and more jobs, in the economy. Patrick Harvie is welcome to laugh about those things if he wants to, but we have a serious job to do to grow Scotland’s economy by increasing our exports.

I mentioned our target to increase overseas exports from 20 to 25 per cent of GDP, which we believe is achievable over the coming 10-year period. That would increase the tax revenue by half a billion pounds, which is money that we could then spend on public services.

The key message is that Scotland is open for business. We are a trading nation; we are outward looking; and we are an international nation. We want to further increase our internationalisation, despite the UK Government’s efforts and Brexit. We have ambition to grow Scotland’s economy and our exports, and to support Scotland’s businesses on that journey.

I move,

That the Parliament recognises the pressing need to boost Scotland’s export performance to build greater resilience in the economy, grow GDP, create jobs and increase the tax collected by the Scottish Government, allowing public services to be further improved as well as enhancing the innovation, productivity and profitability of individual exporting businesses; welcomes the recent publication of

A Trading Nation

, backed by an additional £20 million investment over three years, and agrees that the plan sets out the evidence and the key actions needed to put Scotland on a path to grow its exports in real terms, and recognises that achieving the target of 25% of Scotland’s GDP from international exports will not be easy and will require continued assessment of the effectiveness of actions in the plan, as well as regular refreshes to remain responsive to changes in patterns of global trade and feedback from Scottish-based businesses.