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Thursday, 08 March 2018 06:33



Latest export stats have shown Scotland’s international trade growing at the fastest rate of any UK nation – up nearly one fifth since 2016 – as the Scottish Government continues to seek strengthened trading links across the world with the threat of a Tory hard Brexit looming over Scotland’s economy.

Annual goods exports from Scotland increased by over 19% between 2016 and 2017 – above the UK’s average of 13.3% and contributing nearly £29 billion to Scotland’s economy. This includes a growth of over 40% in exports to both the Netherlands and China, and over 25% growth in exports to France. Exports to the EU as a whole increased by 24% to £14.1 billion – while total UK exports to the EU grew by only 14%.

The strong growth in exports to EU nations shows the real threat to Scotland’s economy as a result of Tory and Labour plans to leave the EU single market – with exports in oil and gas, whisky, salmon and other products being put at risk by hard Brexit proposals.

Commenting, SNP MSP Tom Arthur, who sits on Holyrood’s Economy Committee, said:

“These strong export stats show how lucrative Scotland’s export market is – but also highlight once again the very real threat being posed to Scotland’s economy because of Tory hard Brexit plans.

“EU countries continue to show a strong interest in our world-class products – and it is breathtaking that the Tories are putting this at risk because of their hard Brexit obsession. The Tories think they can do whatever they want to Scotland and get away with it.

“Scottish Government action over the last year has helped exports to the Netherlands, France, Germany and other EU countries increase dramatically, now adding £14.1 billion to our economy – yet the Tories are doing all they can to undermine this.

“Scotland simply has to remain in the single market to protect jobs and our economy – we cannot afford to allow the Tories and Labour to put these vital markets at risk.”

Table 1: Annual Goods Exports by UK nation, year ending December 2017

Region Exports (£ billions) Annual change
2017 2016 £ billions %
United Kingdom 329.8 291.0 38.8 13.3%
Scotland 28.8 24.2 4.7 19.2%
England 244.8 219.4 25.5 11.6%
Wales 16.4 14.6 1.8 12.3%
Northern Ireland 8.6 7.8 0.7 9.3%

Note: 2017 data is provisional
Source: HMRC Regional Trade Statistics
Table 2: Scotland Top Five Export Partners, year ending December 2017

Country Exports (£ billions) Annual change
2017 2016 £ billions %
Netherlands 4.317 3.067 1.3 40.8
USA 3.356 3.123 0.2 7.5
Germany 2.810 2.352 0.5 19.5
China 2.228 1.578 0.6 41.2
France 1.813 1.430 0.4 26.8

Note: 2017 data is provisional
Source: HMRC Regional Trade Statistics

NB: Figures are subject to rounding. 

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