Scotland business

Scottish exports increased by 5% in 2017

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The value of exports from Scotland grew by £4bn in 2017, up 5% on the previous year, according to new estimates.

Total exports from Scotland, excluding oil and gas, rose to £81.4bn - including £48.9bn to the rest of the UK, and £32.4bn of international sales.

Scottish Finance Secretary Derek Mackay said the figures were "great news" and highlighted the growth in international exports.

Scottish Secretary David Mundell said trade within the UK was "essential".

Both politicians used the figures to make arguments about constitutional politics, with Mr Mackay warning of the "risk" of a no-deal Brexit and Mr Mundell arguing against Scottish independence.

Export destination Value of exports 2017 Change since 2016 % change since 2016
International £32.4bn +£1.9bn +6.2%
...of which EU £14.9bn +£1.7bn +13.3%
...of which non-EU £17.6bn +£0.1bn +0.8%
Rest of the UK £48.9bn +£2.2bn +4.6%
Total (Int + UK) £81.4bn +£4.1bn +5.2%

The latest estimates show international exports increased by 6.2%, while those to the rest of the UK were up by 4.6%.

The bulk of the growth in international exports were to the EU, with sales up by 13.3% to £14.9bn.

The US continued to be Scotland's top international export destination, with an estimated £5.5bn of exports in 2017.

The top five international markets - the US, the Netherlands, France, Germany and Ireland - accounted for 44% of the total overseas exports, at £14.3bn.

Brexit 'uncertainty'

Mr Mackay said the figures were "great news", following on from record low unemployment figures the previous week.

However, he said the "uncertainty" associated with Brexit continued to be "the key risk to Scotland's economy".

He added: "It is vital that the UK government responds to the vote of the House of Commons on 29 January and takes immediate and urgent steps to rule out a no-deal Brexit, which threatens to have devastating consequences for our economy, extend the Article 50 process and hold a second referendum on EU membership."

Mr Mundell said: "The Scottish government's own figures show that our trade with the UK is now worth £34bn more than our trade with all 27 EU countries combined.

"It is absolutely essential for Scotland's economy that trade within our UK internal market continues unimpeded.

"Almost every day we hear fresh threats from the first minister to call a second independence referendum, yet these figures show the union is vitally important for jobs, businesses and prosperity across Scotland."

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