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3 minute read - 24th August 2023

Exports provide significant boost to Scotland’s economy

Scotland’s products and services remain in global demand after Scottish Development International’s (SDI) export figures for the last year were announced. Trade results produced by SDI, the international arm of Scottish Enterprise, showed that trade support provided by Scotland’s enterprise agencies in FY22/23 will result in £1.73bn of planned international sales over the next three years, a 20% increase compared to FY21/22.

The figures, which combine projects supported by Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, and South of Scotland Enterprise, also enabled Scottish firms to enter 301 new markets in FY22/23, with a focus on the United States, Germany, China, Singapore and the UAE. As part of this, 335 new products and services left Scotland for these markets last year.

In total, 960 individual companies in Scotland received trade support in FY22/23, accessing almost 5,000 instances of export assistance over the past year. These included field office assistance from SDI trade specialists based in more than 30 locations across the world, tailored research about international markets and new opportunities such as e-commerce and introductions to key overseas buyers via the GlobalScot network.

Export figures for the last year show that Scotland’s products and services remain in global demand / Picture: Getty/iStock

Richard Lochhead, Scotland’s trade minister, said: “These latest results are very encouraging and show the high demand for Scottish products and services around the world. Despite the challenges of Brexit, the pandemic and rising inflation, our companies – supported by Scottish Development International – have shown tremendous resilience and have continued to grow their exports, which resulted in this 20% increase from 2021/22 to £1.73bn of planned international sales over the next three years.

“International trade and investment are integral in our efforts to expand our economy and create new long-term jobs as set out in our National Strategy for Economic Transformation and our Export Growth Plan – A Trading Nation. It is crucial that we continue to support businesses to secure significant trade opportunities and partnerships around the globe.”

Adrian Gillespie, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, added: “These are excellent results and show how attractive Scottish products and services remain to global customers, based on our innovation, strong quality and the ambition of our companies to enter new markets. It has been a privilege for our dedicated trade specialists both here in Scotland and across the world to support Scottish businesses on their international growth over the past year. International growth via exports is a key driver of productivity and to the wealth of the country. We will continue a targeted approach and focus our trade activities on areas where we get the best results, such as the energy transition, science and technology, and the consumer industries.”

SDI’s trade support focused on sectors where the country’s greatest export strengths currently lie: consumer industries, science and technology, and energy and low carbon transition. Examples of trade support included:

SDI partnered with Singapore’s largest e-commerce and online grocer, Lazada’s RedMart, to introduce the Scottish Store, which features more than 400 products from approximately 130 different Scottish brands. The initiative has significantly increased orders for brands from Scotland, and a Scotland Food & Drink Festival was held in Singapore in February to drive further awareness of the Scottish Store.
SDI hosted an inward trade delegation visit by BioSTL, a tech ecosystem from St Louis, Missouri, that allowed 11 Scottish healthcare and bio-tech startups to pitch their products and services.
Emergency One (UK), a manufacturer of fire appliances based in Cumnock, announced a contract with Hérault Fire Service to supply its electric fire appliances and further the net zero goals for the French fire service. The export deal was supported by SDI.

As part of its international operating plan for FY23/24, SDI says it will continue its prioritised approach to help create future markets and develop capabilities in global opportunity areas.

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