Draft Brexit deal ‘threatens £16bn Scots exports’

The UK’s draft Brexit deal is a “blind leap into the unknown” which leaves Scotland’s £16 billion EU-related export sector facing trade barriers and “years of damaging uncertainty,” according to the Scottish Government’s Constitutional Relations Secretary Michael Russell.

More than half of Scotland’s international exports in 2016 were to the EU and countries with an EU trade deal.

The UK Government’s proposed withdrawal agreement would take Scotland out of the European Customs Union and Single Market — around eight times the size of the UK alone — with no certainty over future trading arrangements.

Scottish exports to the EU were worth £12.7 billion in 2016, 43% of Scotland’s international exports.

A further 12% of exports, worth £3.7 billion, were to countries with which the EU has a trade agreement.

Russell said: “Scotland exports more to the EU than the USA, Asia, South America and the Middle East combined. It is our single most important international market and supports thousands of jobs.

“Despite previously promising frictionless trade, the UK Government’s draft deal would mean barriers to exports and the loss of the EU’s trade agreements with around 40 countries that we currently benefit from.

“It is a blind leap into the unknown and will leave Scottish businesses facing years of damaging uncertainty.

“That is not acceptable, which is why we will now work with others to put in place a deal that works for Scotland within the European Single Market and Customs Union and supports another referendum on EU membership.”