Nicola Sturgeon is to declare Scotland “open for business” in the post-Brexit era by setting out new trading structures.
The SNP leader is to bring down the curtain on her party’s conference in Glasgow with a speech proclaiming a “new political era” in the UK.
She plans to set up a trade hub in Berlin, along with new trade staff in a bid to boost exports across Europe.
The first minister will also speak about her domestic policy priorities.
Many speakers at the SNP conference at the SECC in Glasgow have sought to illustrate policy differences between the Scottish and UK governments.
Ms Sturgeon is to underline this with her keynote speech, while criticising “utterly shameful” rhetoric from the Conservatives on immigration.
She is expected to say: “Make no mistake, the growth of our economy right now is threatened not just by the prospect of losing our place in the single market – disastrous though that would be.
“It is also the deeply damaging – and utterly shameful – message that the Tories’ rhetoric about foreign workers is sending.
“And the uncertainty that message brings to our public services and Scottish employers. More than ever, we need to tell our European friends that Scotland is open for business.”
Ms Sturgeon is to set out a four-point plan to boost trade and exports. This will include:
- A new “board of trade” to draw on business expertise
- A trade envoy scheme to recruit prominent Scottish business leaders
- A permanent trade and innovation hub in Berlin
- Doubling the number of Scottish Development International staff working across Europe.
The first minister will tell delegates: “Let me be crystal clear about this – Scotland cannot trust the likes of Boris Johnson and Liam Fox to represent us.
“They are retreating to the fringes of Europe, we intend to stay at its very heart where Scotland belongs.
“We are in a completely new era. A new political era and a new battle of ideas.
“A new era for our parliament, with new powers and responsibilities, and a new era for our relationship with Europe and the wider world.”
Earlier in the conference, Ms Sturgeon issued a direct warning to Prime Minister Theresa May that she would not hesitate to call a second Scottish independence referendum to protect Scotland’s ties with Europe.
However, she has insisted she is not “rushing towards” a second vote, despite a forthcoming consultation on a draft referendum bill.