Trade Deals (Countries Linked to Genocide)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 18th February 2021.

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Photo of John Mason John Mason Scottish National Party

3. To ask the Scottish Government what recent representations it has made to the United Kingdom Government regarding trade deals with countries linked to genocide. (S5O-05035)

Photo of Graeme Dey Graeme Dey Scottish National Party

The Scottish Government condemns human rights abuses wherever they occur. We published “Scotland’s Vision for Trade” this past month, which sets clear principles that underpin how we trade, including the promotion of good governance, the rule of law and human rights internationally. We have made clear to the UK Government that any future trade agreements must respect those principles.

Photo of John Mason John Mason Scottish National Party

I seek reassurance that the minister would do anything that he can to support those principles in any contact that the Scottish Government has with other countries, either through the UK or directly—considering, for example, the performance of China against the Uighur minority and that of Burma, now Myanmar, against the Rohingya, which have both been deplorable and decried worldwide.

Photo of Graeme Dey Graeme Dey Scottish National Party

It was extremely disappointing that the UK Government objected to an amendment to the Trade Bill that the House of Lords tabled, which would have allowed trade agreements to be revoked where the High Court judged one of the signatories to be a state that had committed genocide.

That was a missed opportunity to place a marker in legislation to establish that our trading relationship should reflect our national values and be based on ethical and principled decisions, not just financial ones.

The Scottish Government will continue to raise human rights issues wherever and whenever that is appropriate.