Scottish manufactured exports dropped by 2.4 per cent to £14.6bn in 2007/8 – the first fall following three consecutive years of growth, according to figures published by the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI).
As in previous years, 2007-08 saw a large fall in electronics exports, which are now worth £4.4bn – down from sales of £11.2bn in 1999.
Despite this, electronics still accounts for 30 per cent of all manufactured foreign sales. However, non-electronics exports showed a strong eight per cent increase year on year, taking the figures for non-electronic goods to a record £10.3bn.
Much of this was accounted for by the food and drink sector, with an eight per cent rise to £3.5bn, mainly driven by another significant increase in sales of whisky to all its key markets in Europe, North America and Asia.
Strong growth was also seen in energy, transport, chemicals and recycling, all offsetting much of the loss from electronics, and showing the changing profile of Scotland’s key export sectors.
The US continues to be the largest single overseas market, representing 15 per cent of total Scottish exports.
The EU markets follow, with mixed results. Although Germany, the Netherlands and Italy have all seen decline, Spain, Belgium and Hungary all recorded increased exports from Scotland.
Looking to the future, Asia, particularly India and China, were identified as the top potential new markets of interest. However, despite policy-makers focus on China, there was an 8.5 per cent fall in the value of its Scottish imports.