SNP challenged

Scottish exports to UK worth three times EU total


Scottish exports were up 4.3% in 2019

SNP claims that Scotland’s trade would benefit from rejoining the EU and leaving the UK were challenged today by new figures showing exports to England, Wales and Northern Ireland are worth three times more than all EU countries combined.

The nationalists continue to campaign for Scotland to rejoin the EU which they say is a bigger market.

However, official figures reveal that the Scottish economy relies far more on trade with the UK.

Scotland exported £52 billion in goods and services to the rest of the UK in 2019 – a rise of £2.5bn. 

By comparison Scotland’s exports to the EU were worth just £16.4bn, or less than a third of the value of sales to the rest of the UK.

About 60% of all Scottish exports go to England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Total Scottish exports are estimated at £87.1bn – a rise of more than 4% in the year, boosted by a strong performance in the food and drink sector, with whisky bringing in £5.4bn in international exports alone. International exports are valued at £35.1bn.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said: “The Scottish Government’s export figures show again that the rest of the UK remains by far Scotland’s most important market with exports to England, Wales and Northern Ireland worth three times more than all EU countries combined.

Alister Jack

Alister Jack: ‘progressive trade deals’

“Scottish international exports to non-EU countries are also up more than four per cent since 2018, showing the enormous potential for Scottish businesses outside of the EU. 

“As we continue to strike progressive new trade deals around the globe, we are unlocking export opportunities which will benefit Scotland and the whole UK.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat finance spokesperson John Ferry said: “The Scottish Government almost seem embarrassed to admit that we export more than £50bn to our friends in the rest of the UK. That’s more than we export to every other country combined.

“The Conservative Government’s reckless Brexit will cost us enormously in the long run but that is nothing compared to the damage that would be done if the nationalists get their way and Scotland is wrenched out of the UK internal market too.

“The Conservatives and SNP are both trying to put new barriers in the way of our working and trading with our neighbours.

“The lessons of Brexit are the lessons for Scottish secession. Breaking unions makes us poorer. We don’t need more chaos and uncertainty.”

Summary Table:
Scotland’s Exports in 2019

Export DestinationValue of Exports in 2019Change since 2018% Change since 2018
International£35.1 billion£ £1.1 billion+3.4%
…of which EU£16.4 billion£ £0.4 billion+2.6%
…of which Non-EU£18.7 billion£ £0.7 billion+4.1%
Rest of the UK£52.0 billion£ £2.5 billion+5.0%
Total (Int + RUK)£87.1 billion£ £3.6 billion+4.3%

See also:

New Zealand trade deal ‘boost for Edinburgh’

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