Change needed to protect Scotland in trade deals
Minister calls for greater role for devolved administrations.
Brexit Minister Michael Russell has set out why the devolved administrations must be involved in any future trade negotiations if the UK leaves the European Union.
Speaking at an event at Dublin City University, Mr Russell addressed an audience of business leaders, politicians, academia and the media.
He made clear that, while the Scottish Government remains of the view that Scotland will be best served remaining inside the Single Market and Customs Union, it is vital that if the UK leaves the EU any future decisions taken on trade reflect the interests of all parts of the UK.
Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe, Michael Russell said:
“The Scottish Government has been consistently clear that the best option for the future wellbeing and prosperity of Scotland and the UK as a whole is to remain in the European Union.
“Moving away from the current situation where the EU takes the lead in negotiating trade deals will require a massive change in the way the UK conducts its affairs internationally.
“The way in which the UK and devolved administrations approach international trade policy and agreements will have to change radically to reflect a very different, and more challenging, context.
“Central to this should be substantial change to the respective roles of the UK Government and Parliament and the devolved administrations and legislatures. There must be a much stronger role for the devolved administrations at all stages.
“While there are many similarities between Scotland and the UK’s trading interests, there are also some significant differences in terms of the relative importance of various sectors and markets.
“We want to agree new and improved arrangements that work for the four nations of the UK in the context of the political and constitutional circumstances of the UK, and for the EU and other future trading partners.
“We will publish our case for widening involvement in future trade policy shortly and hope that EU members and other future trading partners will see the benefits to them of negotiating with a UK which represents interests across the UK.”
Michael Russell was speaking at the Dublin City University Brexit Institute event, ‘Brexit, Customs and Trade’.