Commenting on the news that Scotland’s international exports grew by £1 billion between 2014 and 2015, Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) have welcomed the figures but believe that there remains considerable room for improvement. Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of SCC, said:
“It is good news that Scotland’s exports increased by £1 billion between 2014 and 2015, reversing the decline that had been experienced in the previous year. The increase is also consistent between EU and non-EU destinations and, indeed, to the rest of the UK. Growth in our exports appears to be back on track.
“However, the detail of these statistics does highlight causes for concern. The Scottish Government’s export growth target was to achieve a 50% increase in international exports between 2010 and 2015. By 2015, only 21.5% growth has been achieved – well short of the Government’s plans. More concerning is the 9.6% fall in international exports by small business between 2014 and 2015, indicating that Scotland is failing to spread the opportunities of internationalisation widely enough throughout our economy.
“These points serve to underline the need to accelerate and become more effective in delivering Scotland’s international trade partnerships, and SCC will play a pro-active role in building B2B relationships with the international Chamber Network to tap into potential opportunities for SMEs. Resources in the public and private sectors are limited and we need to focus on achieving the maximum possible impact in terms of delivering new exporting opportunities for more businesses, particularly small businesses. Following the opportunity, not following the herd, must be the objective.
“With other Government activity such as the Scottish Enterprise and Skills Review and the UK Industrial Strategy being developed, we must ensure that these contribute to a more creative and innovative approach to international trade that delivers ambitious results for our future exporting.”