Just 70 companies in Scotland account for 50 percent of our international exports, posing a challenge and an opportunity to become a bolder exporting nation.
Scotland has a proud history of exporting. From salmon and whisky to financial services, we have a tradition to be proud of.
But there is no single lever that can be pulled to make Scotland a bigger, bolder and better exporting nation. Re-orientating the Scottish economy towards exporting will require a long-term commitment from government and business.
CBI Scotland’s Pursuing Prosperity report highlighted exporting as one of the key drivers of the vast regional productivity differences that exist across Scotland. Companies that export are more competitive, more profitable, more innovative and more productive.
Despite the Scottish Government’s long-held ambition for Scotland to rank among the top quartile of OECD countries for productivity, we remain 20% lower than the best performers. Encouraging and supporting firms across Scotland to expand their international activity has a key role to play in closing that gap and driving sustainable, inclusive economic growth that benefits all parts of the country.
While recognising that trade policy is reserved to Westminster, the CBI's report Winning worldwide Scotland looks at actions the Scottish government can take to support businesses in expanding their international activity.