Our national trading story has long been shaped by the enterprise of the Scottish people, from Adam Smith setting out his vision for free trade two centuries ago to the businesses now embracing the opportunities of the global marketplace.
In this defining year, the United Kingdom can demonstrate as a newly independent trading nation, president of the G7 and hosts of the COP26 climate summit that free and fair trade is part of the solution to the great challenges of our time.
Thousands of new jobs
Now is the moment to go further and faster to build back greener, with a green industrial revolution in the UK. A new clean economy will create thousands of high-wage, highly skilled clean jobs, revitalising our industrial heartlands and making industries fit for the future.
Free trade can go hand-in-hand with achieving our net-zero ambitions and create jobs in every part of the UK.
That’s why, as the world recovers from coronavirus, we are working to help Scottish businesses sell more of their goods and services to the largest and fastest-growing markets so they can drive forward a jobs-led recovery at home.
We will not just build back better, but also build back greener. Free trade, alongside free markets and free enterprise, sparks innovation in clean technology by fuelling the exchange of ideas. It also ensures as many people as possible can benefit from green goods by keeping prices competitive and helping them to spread far and wide.
That is why we are going further and faster to harness its full potential. Today, I am pleased to announce that we are securing through UK Export Finance (UKEF), recognised as the world’s best export credit agency, a ground-breaking investment which will support high-quality jobs in Scotland’s industries of the future and galvanise green growth.
This £430 million loan marks the first-ever government-backed loan, issued under our new Transition Export Development Guarantee, which is geared to help major exporters turbocharge their transition to a net-zero future.
Our latest step will ensure Aberdeen-based engineering and consultancy firm Wood can go from strength to strength in its work on green sectors ranging from carbon capture and storage to solar energy and hydrogen power. By helping such a significant employer to capitalise on these areas, we will secure thousands of jobs for local people.
Opportunities opening up through green trade
This is only the beginning. We want to see exporters across every region and nation seizing the opportunities opening up through green trade. That is why UKEF will continue to help businesses go green and support jobs through its Transition EDG and its £2 billion direct lending facility.
Our strategy is not just about the here and now but also our long-term success. We know from the Board of Trade’s recently released report the global green marketplace is expected to be worth £1.8 trillion by 2030, delivering up to £170bn in opportunities by the end of the decade.
Free trade can go hand-in-hand with achieving our net-zero ambitions and create jobs in every part of the UK.”
The scale of the prize is clear. We need to be front-footed as a newly independent trading nation, which is why the government has been working flat out to helping exporters to seize the immense opportunities offered by green trade. We will show this through our international leadership at COP26 in Glasgow, urging countries to drive clean economic recoveries like ours.
Free trade is not only a tremendous force for good economically, but also environmentally. We can already see how it is helping level up the country, with our historic industrial heartlands at the heart of a green industrial revolution. By helping exporters to fulfil their ambitions, we will pave the way to a brighter, greener and richer future for us all.