Scotland suffers £4 billion export fall

The oil and gas downturn has hit the value of Scottish exports
The oil and gas downturn has hit the value of Scottish exports
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Scotland's economy has suffered a £4 billion blow as the value of exports around the globe shrunk in 2016 it has emerged.

Firms selling goods south of the border were the big losers as exports to the rest of the UK fell by £4.4 billion, down to £45.8 billion.

Scottish exports to EU countries also decreased by £105 million (0.8%) to £12.7 billion in 2016.

Read more: Scottish economy grows, but still trails UK
It means the UK market is still worth more than three times as much to Scottish firms as the rest of the EU, although the relative significance of the UK "internal market" has shrunk.

There was a big increase in exports to to non-EU countries of £565 million (3.4%) to £17.1 billion.

But the overall picture saw a £3.9 billion fall in total exports both internationally and to the rest of the UK to £75.6 billion, down by 5%.

Scottish economy secretary Keith Brown said trade envoys have now been appointed by the Scottish Government as part of a drive to "boost" the country's export performance at home and abroad.

Value of goods exported by Scotland rises by 20%
"We’re continuing to enhance the SDI presence in Europe and we’re establishing new international innovation and investment hubs," Mr Brown said.

Mr Brown added: “These figures do, of course, cover a year of considerable uncertainty with the EU Referendum, the downturn in the oil and gas sector and the closure of Longannet - all of which have had an impact on these historic figures.

"However it is clear that if the UK Government continues in its plan to withdraw from the European single market and the customs union, putting barriers in the way of international exports, that our economy could be severely damaged in future."

Read more: Manufacturing in Scotland: What do we still make?