THE value of international exports from Scotland fell by £920 million in 2014, according to the latest figures.
Official export statistics show international exports decreased 3.2% from £28.4 billion in 2013 to £27.5 billion.
The value of goods being exported internationally has increased by £4 billion (17.3%) between 2010 and 2014.
Food products and drinks were the largest exporting industry, comprising £4.8 billion (17.3%) of all exports in 2014.
During the year, 42% - or around £11.6 billion worth - of international exports were destined for countries within the European Union, with the largest market being the Netherlands, followed by France and Germany.
The USA was Scotland’s top international export country market, while exports from Scotland to the rest of UK were estimated at £48.5 billion - up £1.5 billion over the year.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “These figures show total export sales in 2014 from Scotland increased over the year, by £570 million to £76 billion.
“It is, however, a mixed picture. There was a fall in exports to Europe in 2014, with both a weak pace of recovery across the EU and the relatively strong value of sterling combining to make it more challenging for Scottish firms.
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“International exports from Scotland have now increased by 17.3% since 2010, more than the 15.9% increase for the UK as a whole.
“The Scottish Government and its enterprise agencies are supporting more companies than ever with their export ambitions, with SDI helping over 2,500 companies to develop skills to internationalise, access new markets or increase international revenues.
“Separate figures published last year also estimate the number of exporting businesses in Scotland has increased every year since 2011, to around 11,100 businesses.
“Our new Trade and Investment Strategy, which will be published shortly, will set out a clear approach to boosting exports further, increasing the number of exporting companies and attracting new investment to Scotland.”
Scotland Office Minister Andrew Dunlop said: “These figures underline the central importance of the UK’s single domestic market to the Scottish economy.
“A growing UK economy has led to a welcome £1.5 billion increase in Scottish exports to other parts of the United Kingdom.
“However, these figures also demonstrate why it is so important that we do all we can to support Scottish businesses to compete internationally.
“This is why the UK Government has put in place a comprehensive package of support to help businesses in Scotland grow their overseas trade, including the ‘Exporting is GREAT’ campaign, which will be rolling out across Scotland in the next few weeks.”