Global sales of British manufactured goods to add £14.4bn to the Scottish economy this year

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  • International sales of British-made goods will bring in £14.4bn to the Scottish economy this year and currently support 72,900 manufacturing jobs in the country
  • 50% of non-exporting manufacturers in Scotland plan to start in 2022: their sales could see these exports worth £14.7bn per year to Scotland by 2030, an annual increase of £316m over current levels
  • Food and drink products (£34.3bn in sales per year) are the UK’s biggest selling manufactured product on the global stage, followed by automotive products (£20.9bn)

UK manufacturing exports will bring in around £14.4bn to the Scottish economy this year, according to a new study** from Barclays Corporate Banking. What’s more, the plans of manufacturers who don’t currently export to start selling their products overseas could see that total soar to £14.7bn a year by 2030.

Barclays’ new report – The Export Dividend – shows that, despite widespread supply chain disruption and challenges brought on by the global pandemic and the UK’s exit from the EU, 84% of manufacturing firms with 10 or more employees in Scotland are currently exporting. Across the UK, British food and drink producers are reaping the highest financial rewards, with £34.3bn in sales on a global scale. They are followed by automotive manufacturers, with £20.9bn.

UK exporters are also shown to have fared better this year than non-exporters. Over a quarter (26%) of the research respondents who sell overseas said they had seen ‘significant growth’ in 2021, only 18% of non-exporters said the same. Meanwhile, manufacturers who export are also more confident about their prospects in 2022 with 88% of exporting businesses upbeat about their growth prospects, compared to 71% of those who don’t currently export.

Among those who don’t yet export, there is significant demand in Scotland to start doing so with half (50%) aiming to start selling overseas in 2022. If they do, Barclays’ economic modelling predicts it could be worth an additional £39m to the local economy next year, and an additional £316m per year by 2030.

Non-exporters in the UK are more likely to favour European markets, with 30% saying they would target Germany initially, followed by The Netherlands (24%) and the US (24%). In contrast, the US is the market that most current exporters (30%) sell to, followed by Germany (26%) and France (26%).

The new findings coincide with the Government’s refreshed export strategy, ‘Made in the UK, Sold to the World’, which was published in November. Barclays’ research shows that knowledge gaps will need to be narrowed to fulfil its ambitions. As it stands, far from all manufacturers in Scotland are aware of current or emerging initiatives to encourage international trade, such as the UK’s bid to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (46%) and the recently signed free trade agreements with Japan (50%) and Australia (36%).

Only just more than a third in Scotland (34%) were aware of the plans to create eight new freeports in England, which offer tax breaks for manufacturers on the import of materials. However, those familiar with freeports were very positive about the scheme with 71% saying they plan to make use of them once they come online.

Andy Hall, Head of Corporate Banking, Barclays Central Scotland said: “While the Scottish manufacturing sector has endured a tough year, the report released today shows encouraging signs of recovery for Scotland.

“Our exporters have weathered the Covid and Brexit storms and it is pleasing to see a strong demand for their products globally.

“Confidence is high and many Scottish firms are looking to exports to fulfil their growth ambitions next year and beyond, with half of those who don’t yet export overseas aiming to start in 2022.”

Mike Freer MP, Minister for Exports, added: “Barclays’ new report highlights the demand for UK goods and services overseas, from our leading food and drink sector to our classic, British cars.

“For our world-renowned food and drink sector, which totalled £21.7 billion in exports last year, we have specialist food and drink attaches in key global markets, ready to facilitate trading relationships between UK businesses and new markets, showcasing the best of Britain on a truly international stage.

“My department offers a range of support for businesses who want to take advantage of what exporting has to offer, namely our recently-published Export Strategy and new Export Academy which will provide guidance to businesses exporting for the first time.”

Other findings from The Export Dividend report include:

  • 71% of manufacturers agree that the pandemic continues to have an adverse impact on their business operations
  • To mitigate disruption, over two fifths (43%) are diversifying their global supply base, while 40% are setting up overseas warehousing space
  • Beyond the EU and the US, current exporters are most likely to be trading in Canada (23%), India (19%), or Latin America (17%)

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