The value of Scotland’s goods exports to the European Union has grown by almost a fifth in a year, new figures show.
Trade Minister Ivan McKee said the rise underlines the importance of trade with the EU.
Scotland’s good exports to the EU rose 18 per cent to £15.7 billion in the year to September 2018, making up more than half of overall goods exports, which rose 6 per cent to £29.6 billion.
Goods brought in from the EU to Scotland also increased in the same period, up 7.5 per cent to £9.6 billion.
Meanwhile, goods exports to non-EU countries fell 4.5 per cent to £13.9 billion and good imports from these countries rose 13.1 per cent to £15.8 billion.
The HMRC trade statistics show Scotland’s largest export partner by value was The Netherlands, which was also the partner country with the largest value increase.
The largest import partner by value was Norway while Singapore was the partner country with the largest value increase for imports.
Speaking from Hamburg, where he is discussing further growth in Scotland’s trade with Europe, Mr McKee said the figures were “very encouraging”.
He said: “The value of Scotland’s annual goods exports increased by 6 per cent to £29.6 billion. This is a higher growth rate than the overall UK figure of 4 per cent and the highest percentage increase of any UK country.
“The figures show just how important trade with the EU is.
“Exports of goods to the EU are up 18 per cent to £15.7 billion and more specifically exports of oil and gas to the EU are up 37 per cent from £5.7 billion to £7.8 billion.
“They demonstrate in pounds and pence the competitive disadvantage Scotland will suffer compared to Northern Ireland under the UK Government’s current proposals.
“They also show the importance of Scotland staying in the single market and customs union, which is eight times bigger than the UK market alone, because trade with the EU makes up more than half of Scotland’s exports.”