Scotland remains open for business

Minister for Trade heads to Hamburg on trade visit.

Scotland remains open for business with the EU remaining the single largest market for international exports, according to Trade Minister Ivan McKee.


Mr McKee is flying to Hamburg this week for a series of meetings to discuss further growth in Scotland's trade with Europe.


At an event co-hosted with the Hamburg branch of British Chambers of Commerce Mr McKee will deliver a speech on Scotland's future trade relations with Europe to business and industry leaders.


Speaking ahead of the visit, Mr McKee said:


"Scotland remains open for business, despite uncertainty over Brexit, The EU remains the largest single market for Scotland's international exports, with exports worth £12.7 billion in 2016, supporting directly or indirectly hundreds of thousands of jobs across Scotland.


"Last year, nearly 6,800 companies operating in Scotland exported goods to the EU and over 10,000 companies were reliant on imports from the EU.


"All will be potentially impacted by a decision to leave the single market and customs union through higher costs, a loss of competitiveness or production delays. These impacts will in turn feed through to suppliers, jobs and the wider Scottish economy.


"Additionally, in 2015, Scotland exported around £3.6 billion to countries with which the EU has a Free Trade Agreement - around 13% of Scotland's international exports.


"Food and drink exports, including premium iconic Scottish produce like whisky, beef, langoustines and salmon, are as a whole approximately four times more important to the Scottish economy than they are for the UK as a whole.


"Despite previously promising frictionless trade, the UK Government's draft deal would mean barriers to exports and the loss of the EU's trade agreements which is not acceptable.


"Our first priority remains staying in the EU, in line with the overwhelming vote in Scotland to remain, and the First Minister has made clear we support any moves to hold another referendum on EU membership. Short of that, the least damaging option is to remain in the European Single Market and Customs Union, which is eight times larger than the UK market alone."


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