Graeme Finnie: The US election and the Scottish economy

Graeme Finnie: The US election and the Scottish economy

Graeme Finnie

Graeme Finnie, managing partner at French Duncan, discusses the potential outcomes of the US Presidential election, and its impact on Scotland’s economy and business community.

How the 2020 US election outcome affects Scotland’s economy and SME community could be largely dependent on the impact it has on trade negotiations.

Outside the EU, the US is Scotland’s biggest trading partner, and excluding exports, to the rest of the UK. At the moment, trade negotiations with the US are understood to be at an advanced stage. If the US Administration changes to a Biden and Democratic administration, we could see these negotiations pause as Biden’s team works out how they want to take them forward.

On the other hand, given President Trump’s ‘America First’ rhetoric, it may be that a trade deal with Biden is a more favourable one for Scotland’s business community. Scotland should continue to position itself as a nation with strong and significant trading opportunities, playing the long game to deliver a favourable result irrespective of whomever is in residency in the White House.

Clearly, Scotland and the other devolved administrations are not at the negotiating table as the discussions are being led by the UK Government. This raises the question of whether the sometimes fractious relationship between Holyrood and Westminster will, in this case, actually work against the Scottish interest.

Of course, any period of uncertainty or legal wrangling’s over the result will only further delay these negotiations, and so the swifter a result is confirmed the better for everyone.

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