Scotland is a small open economy, rich in opportunity and home to a wealth of ambitious companies. Exports provide a vital source of growth and will be essential to our future prosperity. In addition to opportunities in traditional markets, such as Europe and North America, emerging economies will continue to lead the recovery, expand world trade and will be a source of new demand. This provides an enormous opportunity for Scotland as improving our access to these growth markets will open up Scottish exports to new consumers - 2.5 billion in India and China alone.
The Government Economic Strategy emphasises the opportunity to rebalance the economy towards increased exports. Exporting to a wide range of markets as well as increasing sales growth will enable companies to specialise in areas of relative strength, become more productive, learn new techniques and benefit from a more diversified customer base.
The indicator measures the growth in the value of goods and services that Scotland exports to other countries, and, as set out in the Government Economic Strategy, is supported by an ambitious target for Scottish businesses to deliver a 50% increase in the value of international exports by 2017. The datapoint for the end of 2017 will be available in January 2019.
The success of Scottish exports reflects the competitiveness of Scottish companies, their links to world markets and world economic conditions. The Scottish export market has faced challenging conditions in recent years, particularly as a result of the slowdown in trade flows as a result of the recession in the global economy.
The Government Economic Strategy sets out a number of actions to increase the value of Scottish exports. These include:
- Setting an ambitious target to increase the value of Scottish exports by 50% by 2017
- Scottish Development International (SDI) to support more businesses to develop the skills to go international by 2015
- Supporting growth companies to extend their exports, particularly into fast growing markets
- Enabling SMEs with international ambitions to access finance from the Scottish Investment Bank
- Delivering advice and support to SMEs with significant export potential
- A focus on attracting strategic inward investment which enhances the competitiveness of our growth sectors
- Through the Scottish Government's engagement with other countries and international institutions, particularly in highlighting the areas where Scotland has particular expertise
In 2016, the value of Scottish exports to the rest of the world (not including the UK) stood at £29.8 billion. This represents an increase of 1.6% on the previous year when Scottish exports were valued at £29.3 billion.
The total value of Scottish exports increased between 2010 and 2016 from £24.1 billion in 2010 to £29.8 billion in 2016. This is an increase of 23.9% over this period (an average of 4.0% per year).
The data is available at the bottom of the page.
The sector contributing the most to the increase in export value is the manufacture of food and drink, which is dominated by whisky production.
More information on export statistics is available here
The evaluation is based on: any difference within +/- 3 percent of last year's figure suggests that the position is more likely to be maintaining than showing any change. An increase of 3 percent or more suggests the position is improving; whereas a decrease of 3 percent or more suggests the position is worsening.
For information on general methodological approach, please click here.
Scotland Performs Technical Note
Highlands and Islands Enterprise
Scottish Development International
Wealthier and Fairer