Scottish firms continue to impress internationally

Scottish firms continue to impress internationally

New figures from HMRC show that the value of exported goods by companies in Scotland rose by more than a quarter in the first three months of 2017, against the same period last year.

In the three months to the end of March, exports from Scotland companies reached £7.2bn, up from £5.7bn in the same period last year, a rise of 27% and exceeding the values reached in the same period in 2014 or 2015.

Across the whole of the UK, exports rose but not by such a significant number; the overall increase in value was 11%.

Exports to EU countries accounted for 46% of the total value, followed by Asia and Oceania on 20% and North America on 16%.

Machinery and transport exports made the most significant contribution – 30% of the total value - while mineral fuels accounted for 28%.

The total number of Scottish firms exporting also rose, from 6,502 in Q1 of 2016 to 6,745 in Q1 2017.

Neil Francis, international operations director at Scottish Development International, said: “These figures indicate that while we are still operating in a period of significant economic and political uncertainty, Scottish companies continue to see international trade as a key driver for long-term, strategic growth and are taking advantage of recent currency fluctuations to boost trade.

“It’s also heartening to see an increase in the number of companies exporting, as this is a key indicator of the international ambition of our Scottish company base.

“We are continuing to work with partners and business organisations to ensure that companies know about the support which is available to start trading internationally, and the valuable connections we can facilitate on the ground in target markets through our field teams, GlobalScots and in-market specialists.”

Commenting on the new figures, Alan Aitchison, audit partner at RSM, said: ‘The decrease in the value of the pound since last year’s referendum has helped exporters and these figures show that the region’s businesses have been making the most of this.

‘Looking ahead, however, the outlook for exporters is less clear. Last week’s election result has caused further turbulence in the political climate and businesses will no doubt be hoping for some early clarity on the UK’s future trading relationships with Europe once the Brexit negotiations start in earnest.’