Scotland business

Scotland's export markets performance 'patchy'

Port containers
Image caption The committee's report calls on the Scottish government's export agency to update its strategy

Scotland's performance in export markets and attracting inward investment is increasingly patchy, according to a parliamentary report.

The Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee also said not enough firms were seeking advice from public bodies.

It called for more focus on increasing the number of firms, especially smaller ones, which are prepared to grow their business in export markets.

HMRC figures show only 5% of UK exporters were based in Scotland.

This is despite the fact that about 8% of all VAT-registered firms in the UK are located north of the border.

Statistics from Ernst and Young also suggested the volume of manufactured exports from Scotland had fallen by 30% in the last decade.

The committee's report has called on the Scottish government's export agency, Scottish Development International (SDI), to update its strategy and services to focus more on increasing the number of firms that saw exports as a route to success.

Iain Smith MSP, committee convener, said: "Scotland is slowly coming out of recession, but is lagging behind some other economies, such as Asia, so now is a good time to tap into growing overseas markets.

"Our report is particularly timely given the increasing constraints on public finances.

"While Scotland has a good track record in export markets across a number of sectors, such as oil and gas and whisky, overall performance is inconsistent.

"We have to make a step change in our performance and increase the number of firms that see exports as a route to future growth."

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