Saturday, 17 March 2018 08:01


With St Patrick’s Day celebrations taking place across the world today (Saturday 17 March), the SNP’s Colin Beattie has highlighted the looming threat of Brexit to Scottish exports with the Republic of Ireland, which have increased nearly threefold in value in the last decade.

The Scottish Government established an innovation and investment hub in Dublin in 2016 to help form new, and enhance existing trading relationships with Ireland, which was ranked as Scotland’s 6th biggest export market in 2016.

Stats published last week showing exponential growth in Scottish exports throughout the EU illustrate the real threat leaving the EU single market poses to Scotland’s economy.

SNP MSP Colin Beattie, who sits on Holyrood’s Economy committee, commented:

“We have so much to gain from maintaining and enhancing the positive economic links we have with our closest EU neighbour in the Republic of Ireland, and it is breath-taking that the Tories are putting this at risk because of their hard Brexit obsession.

“The repeated assertion by the Tories that Scottish independence would jeopardise trade with other UK nations is a complete red herring. The obvious solution to continuing frictionless trade throughout Europe is to maintain membership of the single market, which is around eight times bigger than the UK’s alone, as well as the customs union – a position supported by both the Scottish and Irish Governments.

“The Tories think they can do whatever they want to Scotland and get away with it – but we cannot let them and Labour risk jobs and our economy by leaving the worlds’ biggest single market that lets us trade freely with our neighbours across the Irish Sea.”

Trade between Scotland and the Irish Republic (

  2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007
Total Exports £1,290,078 £992,203 £1,500,223 £1,724,415 £1,941,026 £527,722 £598,246 £588,007 £482,991 £516,108 £448,719
Total Imports £527,719 £476,233 £446,639 £525,063 £582,139 £259,354 £258,724 £223,542 £273,605 £241,919 £335,988

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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