It’s been quite a frenetic few weeks in politics, to say the least. But we now have a new Prime Minister, a new Government and the message is absolutely clear – the United Kingdom is very much open for business.

While the result of the EU referendum was not the one I campaigned for, Britain has made its decision. Brexit means Brexit – and we’re going to make a success of it. As we approach the negotiations on Britain’s exit from the EU, trade and commerce will be central to those discussion. In Scotland, exports are a vital part of the country’s economy – in 2014 they were worth £76 billion. While 11 per cent of those went to the EU, 64 per cent went to the rest of the UK. This is precisely why it is so important that Scotland’s two governments work together as ‘Team UK’, to make sure that Scotland’s interests are represented at every stage of the negotiations.

We are determined that the UK will continue to be an outward looking, global facing nation, and that we will build on and strengthen our links with our friends and partners across the world. Take the United States for example; in June the Secretary of State travelled to Texas to meet leaders of America’s oil and gas industry, hearing about the challenges that they face there and the innovative ways in which they are solving them. He pressed the case for investing in Scotland, and in the world leading oil and gas sector that we have here.

Take also the Prime Minister’s decision to establish a department for international trade, a department which will take the ‘UK is open for business’ message right across the globe. It will be building partnerships and flying the flag for the incredible goods and services that Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and England have to offer. Britain may be leaving the EU, but we are not withdrawing from Europe or the wider world.

The UK Government has an extensive network of influence overseas. This is a tremendous asset and I am determined that Scotland should get the full benefit of the UK’s embassies and high commissions, and the UKTI network, as they bang the drum for Scotland and the UK on the global stage. The UK Government is determined too, that while we look to the rest of the world, we are also a strong and united country, that works for everyone. That is why we are committed to making sure that we speak to as many businesses as possible across Scotland, hearing about their priorities and concerns, and setting out the path forward calmly and collaboratively.

We are entering into new territory, which must be navigated with care, but I guarantee that the UK Government will do everything it can to work with the Scottish Government with common purpose for the interests of the economy in Scotland, and the whole of the UK, to ensure that Scotland’s voice is heard.

Lord Andrew Dunlop
Under-Secretary of State for Scotland,
UK Government