Monday, 4 February 2013

Latest figures show Scottish exports are soaring!

MESL Microwave, Edinburgh.

Scottish exports are hitting new heights, according to the latest official figures.

Exports increased by £1.6 billion to £23.9 billion in 2011 - despite the global slowdown.

Growth markets included the EU and Asia, up 14.7% and 8.7% respectively compared to 2010.

Scottish companies have also strengthened international economic links, says the tenth Global Connections Survey which has just been published.

The top five exporting industries in 2011, says the survey, were:
  • food and beverages (£4.2 billion)
  • manufacture of coke, refined petroleum and chemicals (£3.7 billion)
  • computer, electronic and optical products (£1.4 billion)
  • financial and insurance activities (£1.4 billion)
  • mechanical engineering sector (£1.4 billion)
Together these industries accounted for around 50% of total international exports from Scotland.

Scotland First Minister Alex Salmond and Scottish Enterprise CEO Lena Wilson recently visited MESL Microwave, an Edinburgh-based microwave and electronics firm, which exports 70% of products and is strengthening its work in the emerging space market.

MESL is increasing its overseas activity with the support of Scottish Enterprise, which includes £67,000 research and development funding for the development of space components. Since diversifying its operations to capitalise on the space sector, it has exported products to NASA (USA), Mitsubishi (Japan) and Thales Alenia Space (France).

The Global Connections Survey shows that USA remains Scotland's top export destination with an estimated £3.5 billion of exports in 2011. This is followed the Netherlands (£2.7 billion), France (£1.9 billion) and Germany (£1.4 billion).

Exports to the rest of the UK in 2011 are estimated at £45.5 billion, with £24.5 billion attributable to service sector companies and £11.6 billion to manufacturing sector companies.

The continuing engagement of the Scottish Government and its enterprise agencies with other countries is driven by its overarching purpose of increasing sustainable economic growth. The Government Economic Strategy has set a target to deliver a 50% increase in the value of international exports by 2017.

Scotland's First Minister Alex 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.

"The public sector is focused on working effectively with the business community to showcase on a global stage the products and services Scotland has to offer, and to help companies operating in Scotland to grow and export.

"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 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 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.

"The work of Scottish Development International, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise is supporting our economy and is a key resource for the companies driving the £1.6 billion increase in 2011 exports.

"This latest survey shows welcome growth, which takes us another step towards our target of a 50% increase in the value of international exports by 2017. In this economic climate we recognise there's no room for complacency and that is why we are using every lever currently available to us to secure new investment and to increase the number and value of Scottish exports."

MESL Microwave Managing Director Mike Huggan said, "We are implementing a 10-year plan to diversify into the space payload market to create the highly skilled, high added value jobs required to ensure that Scotland and the UK remain at the forefront of the world's technology markets.

"The world class engineering skills available in Scotland has already been recognised with our company winning projects to develop components for NASA (Jet Propulsion Labs) for a satellite to measure the oceans surface height, and with Mitsubishi for components for the guidance of the HTV rocket, which is the new supply vessel for the International Space Station that replaces the US space shuttle, along with Thales Alenia Space and Astrium, two of the world's leading satellite manufacturers.

"We are working with Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Development International to ensure our continued success in this new space market and new geographical territories. Ninety-five per cent of the products we have designed for space are for export markets, this new strategic direction for MESL will ensure the success of the company for the coming 48 years whilst remaining in Scotland."

Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise Lena Wilson said, "These figures clearly demonstrate the continued demand for Scottish products and services globally. The results are hugely significant and report strong growth in exports to emerging markets such as Asia and South America, as well as sustained growth in the more traditional economies and further highlight the international growth opportunities which exist for Scottish companies.

"We continue to work hard with our partners to provide a joined-up package of international business support that helps Scottish companies increase their international trade in order to drive forward both their own growth and that of the Scottish economy."

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