Commenting on today’s HMRC Regional Trade Statistics, Trade Minister Ivan McKee (pictured) said:
“Today’s goods export figures further demonstrate the combined impact of COVID-19 and Brexit on Scotland’s trade.
“However, while exports from Scotland’s onshore economy are down 5% over the past year this compares favourably with a reduction across the rest of the UK of 14%, demonstrating the work done to support Scottish exporters through our export growth plan A Trading Nation.
“The pandemic represents a worldwide challenge, but the figures also make clear that the UK Government’s decision to leave not just the EU but also the Single Market and Customs Union is imposing a significant additional burden on some Scottish businesses.
“While food and drink exports to the EU recorded a fall of 12% over the year to March, this accelerated to 20% between January and March following the end of the EU transition period.
“These statistics further support our call for the UK Government to re-engage in good faith with the EU and find pragmatic solutions to the blockages confronting businesses.
“Where these create additional new costs or obstacles, the UK Government needs to be honest about their impact and must provide additional financial support to help compensate businesses for the losses incurred as a direct result of Brexit.
“The Scottish Government is using all the levers at its disposal to support exporters and build on Scotland’s global strengths as we renew our economy.
“The aims set out in A Trading Nation have not changed and we remain focused on growing the value of exports from 20% to 25% of GDP over the next 10 years.”