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Action urged over exports

NEARLY two-thirds of Scottish businesses which do not export believe they do not have the right products or services for overseas markets, and this is the main barrier to exporting activity, a survey has found.

The survey, published today by Scottish Chambers of Commerce, found 89 per cent of firms north of the Border had ambitions to grow domestically. This is more than double the 40 per cent with ambitions to expand internationally.

Liz Cameron, chief executive of Scottish Chambers, cited a need to be "outward-looking" and believed not enough was being done to create confidence among the business community to export internationally. She urged action on this front from the Scottish and UK governments.

Ms Cameron said: "Scotland's business community needs to be better informed that global markets want to buy the products and services we have to offer, particularly as a majority of businesses who responded, 65 per cent, felt they did not have the right products [or] services to offer international customers.

"This is not just a Scottish issue - businesses across the UK are experiencing similar barriers to exporting.

"If we are serious about stimulating growth and seizing international opportunities for the Scottish economy, we must tackle these barriers head-on. We need Scottish and UK Governments to support private sector-led initiatives which will drive businesses to think global."

The survey of 372 Scottish businesses found about one in three was currently exporting. It put the proportions of pro-active and reactive exporters at 26 per cent and 47 per cent respectively.

Meanwhile, 51 per cent of respondents said achieving growth in sales and market share over the next 12 months was critical to the survival of the company.

The survey found businesses had benefited quickly from "going global", with 54 per cent seeing a positive impact in terms of increased profitability within 12 months of expanding into international markets, and 56 per cent experiencing an increase in sales.

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