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Last Updated: Monday, 18 December 2006, 00:02 GMT
Export market tops nearly 15bn
whisky plant
Whisky exports rose from 2.26bn (2004) to 2.37bn (2005)
Scotland's manufacturing export market grew by 80m last year to 14.9bn, but that is still down on the 1999 peak of almost 20bn.

A study by the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI) said that high-performing sectors such as whisky had helped the 2005 figures.

The electrical machinery and recycling industries also did well last year.

The EU was Scotland's biggest regional export market, but exports to the US fell from 2.5bn to 2.3bn in 2005.

Companies are now predicting a 3% rise in the value of exports in 2006, with the largest increases predicted in chemicals, fabricated metals, machinery and equipment.

'Time of change'

Alan Wilson, SCDI chief executive, said: "It is encouraging that manufactured exports from Scotland are rising again, albeit marginally.

"While the figures are still 5bn down from their peak in 1999, this modest recovery must be counted as a success for the Scottish economy at a time of change.

"The fall in manufactured exports to the US is a concern. On the other hand, Scottish businesses are benefiting from higher growth in EU margins."

The study, published on Monday, shows;

  • the whisky export sector rising from 2.26bn (2004) to 2.37bn (2005)

  • the electrical machinery export sector rising from 342m (2004) to 400m (2005)

  • the recycling export sector rising from 35m (2004) to 43m (2005)

  • the electronics export sector falling from 6bn (2004) to 5.8bn (2005)

Mr Wilson insisted the "fragility" of the current recovery in manufactured exports underlined why the economy should continue to be a top priority for Scotland's political parties.

The recycling industry has grown in Scotland

He explained: "SCDI believes that no party has yet to come forward with a fully rounded package of measures for the economy.

"We hope to hear more in the coming months on issues such as workforce skills, transport and support for international trade promotions."

Mr Wilson also warned against political parties in Scotland and the UK against getting too caught up in the "green bidding war".

He said government measures could cost Scottish competitiveness and jobs if they were not "supportive and proportionate".

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