Scotland's exports to the Middle East are booming
Scottish exports to the Middle East, driven primarily by the food and drink, energy, business and financial services and the metal goods sectors, currently stand at $1.59 billion, said a report.
Figures for the first half indicate that these latest export levels are being maintained and sustained despite the challenging global economic climate, according to a report by Scottish Development International (SDI), the government’s investment and business development agency.
The exports of Scottish food and drink produce to the Middle East region grew by 28 per cent last year, up from $286 million in 2010 to $367 million in 2011, the SDI report said citing its latest figures.
Exports to the UAE reflect this broader picture with total sales growth increasing by 21 per cent from $118 million in 2010 to $143 million in 2011.
This makes the UAE the most important market for Scottish products in the region and one of the fastest-growing markets globally, the report added.
"These figures demonstrate that Scotland’s relationship with the Middle East continues to flourish, despite a backdrop of continuing global financial uncertainty," said Anne MacColl, the chief executive of SDI, after unveiling the data ahead of her visit to the UAE next week to attend the "Forbes Global CEO Conference" in Dubai.
“Trade figures clearly show that the Middle East has become a key market for Scottish companies, with food & drink being a particular success story, as regional consumers buy into some of our best-loved Scottish brands," MacColl stated.
Scotland’s significant oil and gas reserves ensure that its traditional relationship with the Middle East, particularly the countries of the GCC, continues to mature and consolidate, she added.
Scotland remains Europe’s second-largest producer of offshore natural gas and its oil and gas supply chain exports increased by 4.5 per cent in 2010-11 with international sales for the year standing at $12.1 billion.
Consequently, the sector has continued to attract international investors, including those from the Middle East, she added.
In late 2011 Abu Dhabi-based Taqa announced a $1 billion investment into its Scottish energy interests and in May 2012 the Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company (Kufpec) announced its $500 million purchase of 35 per cent of EnQuest’s interest in its UK Alma and Galia oil field developments in the North Sea.
“From tourism to food & drink, energy to education, Scotland has already found a very strong partner in the Middle East and we will continue to work closely with our contacts here in the region to strengthen this mutually rewarding relationship,” said MacColl.
During her UAE visit, the Scottish official will also be meeting senior executives from local companies in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi, seeking to develop and grow a number of established and emerging business relationships that Scotland has with a variety of companies in the UAE.
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