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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 Dean Lockhart Dean Lockhart Conservative

I will make this point and then give way.

It is therefore vital that we help Scottish businesses to gain more access to those fast-growing markets. However, there is nothing in the trading nation strategy that explains how that will be done; there is just an aspiration to increase our trade. We need specific actions to support business in accessing those growing markets. Last year, I was on a trade mission to Hong Kong, China and Japan. Those countries are moving their global trade on to e-commerce and other technology platforms. Advances in technology mean that the old models of exporting and importing are being replaced, and Scotland needs to keep pace with those developments.

Evidence from Nora Senior, the chair of the Enterprise and Skills Strategic Board, to the Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee highlighted that only 9 per cent of Scottish businesses embed digital in their operations, compared to 43 per cent in competitor countries. We need to do more to encourage Scottish businesses to embed digital in their operations.