Scotland’s international exports for food and drink has increased by £275 million to £5.5 billion in 2016.
The rise revealed in National Statistics Publication: Export Statistics Scotland (ESS) 2016 has been driven by strong whisky exports (£4.0 billion in 2016). The manufacture of food and beverages continues to be the largest industry for international exports in Scotland.
International food and drink exports to the EU are up by £70 million (3.5%), however overall, export figures to the EU and the rest of the UK reduced, the latter largely due to the downturn in the oil and gas sector, as well as in energy related exports following the closure of Longannet power station. The oil and gas sector has now stabilised with activity beginning to increase.
Economy Secretary Keith Brown said:
“It is encouraging to see that international exports continue to increase for Scottish businesses.
“Our Food and Drink sector is performing particularly well and as we implement our Trade & Investment Strategy and the outcome of the Enterprise & Skills Review we must now take the lessons that have been learned growing food and drink exports and encourage other sectors to follow their lead. It is encouraging to see increasing international interest in our professional and scientific services.
“These figures do, of course, cover a year of considerable uncertainty with the EU Referendum, the downturn in the oil and gas sector and the closure of Longannet – all of which have had an impact on these historic figures. However it is clear that if the UK Government continues in its plan to withdraw from the European single market and the customs union, putting barriers in the way of international exports, that our economy could be severely damaged in future.
“As part of our efforts to boost Scotland’s export performance in any circumstance we have appointed Trade Envoys to champion Scottish interests at home and abroad, we’re continuing to enhance the SDI presence in Europe and we’re establishing new international innovation and investment hubs.
“And we will continue to push to remain in, at least, the single market and customs union and retain and rebuild the relationships Scottish businesses have in Europe.”