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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 January 2007, 15:12 GMT
Variable performance on exports
A circuit board
A decline in the export of electronics was recorded
The export of goods manufactured in Scotland has shown a fall of 0.8%, according to third quarter estimates from the Scottish Executive.

However, despite the slight quarterly decline, an annual rise of 3.5% was reported over the last year.

It is the fourth successive quarter showing a year-on-year increase.

A quarterly drop of 3.5% in the figures for electrical and instrument engineering was the main reason for the fall.

Deputy First Minister Nicol Stephen said he was "heartened" by the annual growth.

"Annual growth rates give the best indication of underlying trends, which is why the growth in our manufactured exports over the past year is so encouraging," he said.

"The positive achievement by Scottish exporters over the year highlights that many Scottish companies are in a position to compete in the global economic environment."

However, Murdo Fraser, Tory deputy leader and enterprise spokesman, called on the executive to reduce running costs for exporters to help drive growth.

"For the second quarter in a row we have seen a decline in exports of almost 1% which is extremely worrying, and shows that the recovery we saw at the end of last year has not been sustained, " he said.

"Rather than crow about the annualised figure, Nicol Stephen needs to face up to the decline that is happening now, and outline what urgent action he's going to take."

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