Scotland: a trading nation

A plan for growing Scotland's exports.


Country brief

Denmark is an open, wealthy and educated economy in the Nordic and Baltic region – it is one of the Nordic and Baltic eight. 

Denmark has a high standard of living and the IMF (2018) ranked it as having the 9th highest GDP per capita in the world.

Key market information

Economic indicators


GDP 2017*


GDP per capita 2017*


GDP annual growth rate 2013-2017


GDP annual growth forecast 2018-2023


Population 2017


Projected population growth 2017-2050 (% change)


Average tariff 2016


Scotland’s exports to Denmark


Scotland’s exports to Denmark 2017


Average annual growth in Scotland’s exports to Denmark 2013-2017


Country rank in Scotland’s exports 2017


Scotland’s top export sectors to Denmark, 2017**

Together, these sectors account for around 80% of Scotland's goods and services exports to Denmark
     1. Energy

     2. Chemical Sciences

     3. Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing
     4. Wholesale and Retial Trade
     5. Life sciences

Denmark Imports from the World


Denmark goods and services imports 2017*


Denmark average annual Import growth 2013-2017*


Denmark Top 15 Import Sectors

Denmark Top 15 Import Sectors Chart

Sources: Economic indicators (World Bank, IMF World Economic outlook), Scotland’s Exports (Export Statistics Scotland 2017), 

Country Imports (World Bank, UN Comtrade)

* denotes an indicator which has been converted into GB£ from US$ using the Bank of England’s average annual spot rate data.  Note growth rates may vary depending on unit of currency used.

** These figures have been suppressed to prevent disclosure.

The Danish Economy

Denmark has a highly developed and prosperous economy. Denmark is a similar market to Scotland for doing business so if your product is successful in Scotland and the UK then there is a good chance that it will be successful in Denmark.

Key economic indicators are:

  • The Danish economy has been growing moderately at 1.4% of GDP in 2018. (OECD)
  • Exports as a percentage of Denmark’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) were 55% in 2018. (OECD)
  • Unemployment is relatively low at approximately 5.0% in 2018. (OECD)

Denmark is a member of the European Union(EU), the World Trade Organization (WTO) and other international bodies. Goods manufactured in Scotland are exempt from import duties.

The Department for International Trade’s guide to doing business in Denmark can be found here

Strengths of the Danish market include:

Denmark ranks third out of 190 countries in the World Bank rankings for ease of doing business in 2018.

  • Strong, developed economy 
  • Highly educated workforce 
  • Open economy

Benefits for Scottish businesses exporting to Denmark include:

  • Similar market
  • High standard of living
  • UK and Scottish brands have a positive reputation

What Scotland exports to Denmark

Denmark is Scotland’s eighth largest export market. Exports to Denmark were worth £875 million in 2017, 2.7% of Scotland’s total international exports. (Export Statistics Scotland) 

The top 5 Scottish export sectors to Denmark are:

  • Energy
  • Chemical Sciences
  • Engineering and advanced manufacturing
  • Wholesale and Retail Trade
  • Life Sciences

Priority sectors in Denmark for economic development include:

  • Construction*
  • Engineering*
  • Transport*
  • Energy
  • ICT

* Denmark currently has extensive opportunities in construction, energy and transportation – including one of the largest rail innovation projects in Europe running until 2025. 

Sectoral Opportunities

When compared to the export performance of comparator countries (Norway, Finland, Ireland) Denmark presents potential export opportunities in the following subsectors:

  • Machinery and Equipment
  • Computer and IT services
  • Chemical Sciences
  • Food
  • Transport Equipment
  • Financial Services
  • Manufacture of computer, electronics and optical equipment

Infographic showing top opportunities in Denmark

Existing in-market support for Scottish businesses in Denmark

Scottish Development International

Scottish Development International has an office in Copenhagen with additional support provided in Stavanger, Norway. There are 5 members of staff across the Nordic region supporting trade focused on the consumer industries, science and tech and energy sectors.


There are currently 3 GlobalScots in Denmark covering the financial services and life sciences sectors. Denmark is a priority country for expansion of the GlobalScot network.

Department for International Trade

Contact the Department for International Trade (DIT) team in Denmark for more information and advice on opportunities for doing business in Denmark.

The British Chambers of Commerce in Denmark can also offer member companies advice and introductions in the Danish markets through their office based in Copenhagen.

University links

The University of Copenhagen is in the top 5 international institutions collaborating with Scottish institutions.

The Technical University in Denmark is collaborating with Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission PLC on PROMOTioN, a Horizon 2020 funded project to bring offshore grids and their associated technologies to the level of large scale real-life application.

The Royal Society of Edinburgh has an informal agreement with The Royal Danish Academy of Sciences to strengthen co-operation between researchers in Denmark and Scotland.

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