Scotland’s international exports rose from £27.7 billion in 2014 to £28.7 billion in 2015, new Government figures have revealed.
The USA continues to be Scotland’s top trading partner outside of the EU. Within the EU, the Netherlands was again the largest market.
The latest statistics show that exports to countries within the European Union were estimated as £12.3 billion, an increase of £520 million on the previous year driven by an increase in the export of petroleum and chemical products.
Exports to the rest of the UK in 2015 were estimated at £49.8 billion, an increase of £2.1 billion, driven by a rise in the export of utilities such as electricity, gas and water.
Economy Secretary Keith Brown said: “It is hugely encouraging to see that Scotland’s total international exports, excluding oil and gas, increased by £1 billion in a year.
“It is clear that since the vote to leave the European Union, we must continue to be seen to be a country that is outward facing and open for business. The EU market is 8 times the size of UK market, which highlights the importance of remaining in the Single Market.
“I want to be clear that Scotland should not face a choice between exporting to the EU or UK. We can do both.
“We are working on an ambitious programme of internationalisation, including measures to broaden Scotland’s export base and to grow exports beyond our traditional markets, which is why I am pleased to confirm membership of our new Trade Board, who will take forward this important work alongside our new hubs in Dublin, Brussels, London and Berlin and our planned network of trade envoys.”
The Trade and Investment Strategy included a commitment to create a Trade Board, chaired by Keith Brown, to boost the number of exporters, to help join up services and support and increase the number of exports to new markets.
The membership of the Board is deliberately business focused and brings together a range of people with significant expertise and relevant experience in exporting activity from a variety of perspectives who will perform an advisory function to the Scottish Government.
Members of the Trade Board are: Russell Dalgleish, Scottish entrepreneur, investor, strategist, innovator and business coach; Linda Steedman, CEO of eCom Scotland; Ian Donnelly, managing director energy & marine services, Rosyth Babcock Marine & Technology Division; Michelle Crossan-Matos. vice president, European Strategy and Transformation, Samsung Electronics Europe; Eric Balish, head of UK & Ireland Business Development, Bank ABC; Rachel Jones, CEO of SnapDragon and founding director Totseat Ltd; James Withers, chief executive of Scotland Food & Drink; Nora Senior, immediate past president of British Chambers and current chair of Scottish Chambers of Commerce; Jane Richardson, communications director of Entrepreneurial Scotland, and Afzal Khushi CBE, director of Trespass.
The expectation is that the Board will meet around three to four times a year. The draft remit and terms of reference will be agreed at the first meeting, which will be arranged shortly.