From space exploration to Scotch, exports are rocketing, says Salmond [Scotsman, The (Scotland)]
(Scotsman, The (Scotland) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) SCOTLAND'S worldwide exports have "rocketed", Alex Salmond said yesterday, as figures showed a GBP1.6 billion rise in the value of goods sold overseas.The First Minister was yesterday visiting an Edinburgh-based company that provides components for the fast- growing space industry, including Nasa.The latest Global Connections survey showed Scottish worldwide exports - those outside the UK - reached GBP23.9bn in 2011.The total value of exports for 2011 was estimated at GBP69.4bn with exports to the rest of the UK accounting for GBP45.5bn of this.Despite a global slowdown, Scottish exporters have seen a higher rate of growth in exports than in 2010. Mr Salmond said: "Strengthening Scotland's economic links to other countries is a priority of this government, and this latest survey demonstrates that our drive and work to seize overseas exports is really taking off - our exports have literally rocketed."There are exciting opportunities to seize in emerging economies in Asia, South America, the Middle East, Africa and eastern Europe, and also in the traditional export markets such as the US and Europe."Improving our access and dialogue with international growth markets will open up Scottish exports to new customers and build on Scotland's attractiveness as a place for international trade and investment."Mr Salmond yesterday visited MESL Microwave, an Edinburgh-based electronics firm which has become a major player in the emerging space market. It has exported products to Nasa for components used in monitoring the oceans from space, and equipment for the international space station and satellites.Mr Salmond said: "MESL are boldly going where few Scottish exporters have gone before through their work with Nasa and Mitsubishi, and they are just one of the many firms receiving advice and support from our enterprise agencies to grasp growth opportunities."There has been an estimated 7 per cent increase in manufacturing and service sector exports since 2010, according to the survey. The US continues to be the leading destination for international exports, with these totalling GBP3.5bn in 2011.But the figures also revealed GBP11bn of exports went to countries in the European Union.The top five industries for international exports in 2011 were the food-and-drink sector, with exports of GBP4.2bn; the manufacturing of coke, refined petroleum and other chemicals (GBP3.7bn); computer, electronic and optical products (GBP1.4bn); financial and insurance activities (GBP1.4bn); and the mechanical engineering sector (GBP1.4bn).These five sectors accounted for about 50 per cent of international exports from Scotland.Scottish Secretary Michael Moore said: "It is great news that Scottish firms are exporting more and selling more goods and services around the world."He added: "It is striking that the rest of the UK remains by far the strongest trading partner, responsible for around two-thirds of Scotland's exports."That raises a serious issue about the prospect of creating borders and other barriers to trade in the event of Scotland leaving the UK."Lena Wilson, the chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, said the figures "demonstrate the continued demand for Scottish products and services globally".She added: "The results ... report strong growth in exports to emerging markets, such as Asia and South America."
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