News story

The UK continues to be Scotland’s largest market for trade.

Latest Scottish Government Global Connections Survey shows the rest of the UK continues to be Scotland’s largest market for exports.

UK and EU trucks

Scottish exports to the rest of the UK in 2015 (excluding oil and gas) are estimated at £49.8 billion, an increase of £2.1 billion (4.4%) over the year. This is good news not only for Scottish businesses large and small, but also for employment, for product and service development and economic stability.

Pie chart

Scottish exports to the rest of the UK

The increase in Scottish exports to the rest of the UK was driven by an increase in the export of utilities (electricity, gas, water etc). The rest of the UK continues to be Scotland’s largest export market as the figure is £21.1 billion higher than the estimated total for international exports.

Scotland’s exports to the rest of the UK are 4 times greater than those to the EU.

Exports to countries within the European Union (EU)

International exports to countries within the European Union (EU) were estimated at £12.3 billion, which is 43% of total international exports. This is an increase of £520 million from the previous year (4.4%). The increase was driven by an increase in the export of petroleum and chemical products.

Within the EU, the Netherlands (£2.3 billion) was again, the largest market, followed by France (£1.8 billion) and Germany (£1.8 billion). Whilst the Netherlands is consistently reported as one of Scotland’s top trading partners, a number of goods exported here are likely to be destined for onward supply to other countries. This is because of key ports in this area.

International exports to non-EU countries

International exports to non-EU countries were estimated at £16.4 billion, which is 57% of total international exports. This is an increase of £485 million from the previous year (3.0%).

Service sector exports from Scotland are of greater importance to the rest of the UK than internationally as more than half (55%) of the rest of the UK exports are services compared to 38% of international exports.

Financial services

Total international and rest of the UK exports in 2015 (excluding oil and gas) are estimated at £78.6 billion, up £3.1 billion (4.1%) in the year. Exports to the rest of the UK accounted for 63% of this total, EU exports accounted for 16% and non-EU exports 21%.

The USA continues to be Scotland’s top international trading partner (£4.6 billion). The top 5 international export markets (USA, Netherlands, France, Germany and Norway) accounted for £11.7 billion (41%) of international exports from Scotland.

Scotland’s success in trading

Over the last ten years, findings from the Global Connection Survey have reinforced the ongoing, strong trading relationship that Scotland and the UK enjoy.

Line chart

The results of a recent survey showed that nearly 40% of people in Scotland believe the EU is more valuable to Scotland’s trade than the rest of the UK. In reality, Scotland’s trade is worth four times that of its trade with the EU.

If you want to find out more, you can see the full results of the Global Connections Survey here.

Published 27 January 2017