Aberdeen meeting

Scottish voice in second round of US trade talks

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Talks: Anne-Marie Trevelyan

Aberdeen will host the second round of US-UK trade talks, ensuring there is a Scottish voice in boosting the UK’s £200bn trade partnership.

The UK International Trade Secretary, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, will be in the city to welcome her US counterpart, Ambassador Katherine Tai, along with leaders from Scottish and UK governments.

The UK Government has said the focus will be on “priority areas” including digital and innovation, green trade, supporting small and medium enterprises, and supply chain resilience.

It comes after latest figures from the UK trade department show that US investment supports over 100,000 jobs and generates nearly £50bn for the Scottish economy.

The figures also revealed that nearly a quarter of Scotland’s service exports are to the US, with two-thirds of drinks exported to the US coming from Scotland, including Scotch whisky.

The Trade Secretary met with representatives from Scotland’s food and drink industry on Sunday evening, which included Walker’s shortbread and dumpling maker 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, Ms Trevelyan and Ms Tai were visiting offshore energy SME, Enpro-Subsea in Aberdeen where Ms Trevelyan highlighted the UK’s energy strategy aimed at securing energy security and independence, while we support the transition from fossil fuels to new technologies.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “This dialogue gives us a platform to explore more modern, digital ways of trading.

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“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.”

Allan Hogarth, executive director of the Scottish North American Business Council, said: “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.”

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 of 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.”

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

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