Independence prospectus will set out how Scotland will avoid trade barriers, claims minister

Ministers will set out how an independent Scotland could avoid having any trade barriers with the rest of the United Kingdom or Europe, the business minister has said.

Ivan McKee, speaking to reporters at an event at the Tartan Blankent Company in Leith, said the planned paper would demonstrate how an independent Scotland would remove existing barriers to trade and help Scotland export more.

The comments come as the minister said the Scottish Government’s export growth strategy had delivered an additional £3 billion in planned international sales in its first three years.

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The Government also said Scotland’s goods exports are growing faster than that of the UK’s, increasing by 5.7 per cent in the 2021/22 financial year compared to 2020/21.

This is compared to a reduction of 2.9 per cent in the UK as a whole over the same period.

Asked how a potential future trade border between an independent Scotland and the rest of UK would damage businesses, Mr McKee said the Government was “very focused on removing barriers”.

He said: “We're very clear that we want Scottish businesses to be exporting internationally, within Europe and to the rest of the UK, and we're very focused on removing barriers that get in the way of that.

Lorries queuing during Operation Brock on the M20 near Ashford in Kent.

"As we move forward with the discussions about an independence prospectus, we’ll clearly lay out how we see those issues being addressed so that Scottish business continues to prosper, contains to export more going forward.”

Pressed on the inevitable barriers a divergent Scottish economy would necessitate, Mr McKee said barriers would not be “put up anywhere” as a consequence of independence.

He said: “We see barriers in Europe because of Brexit. Those barriers need to be removed and we don't want any other barriers to be put up anywhere else as a consequence of anything, so we’re very clear on that.

“As I say, the prospectus that we will bring forward on independence, it will be very clear about the steps that will be taken to do that.”

A separate report on the Government’s inward investment plan said almost 8,000 jobs and 113 projects had been attracted by enterprise agencies.

All episodes of the brand new limited series podcast, How to be an independent country: Scotland’s Choices, are out now.

It is available wherever you get your podcasts, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

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