SCOTLAND'S exports are outperforming the UK as a whole, fresh statistics show.

Data from HMRC Regional Trade Statistics show that in the year ending March 2023, the value of total international exports was up 17.7% for Scotland on the previous year, excluding oil and gas.

The UK was only up 13.5% over this period.

The stats also showed that all but one of Scotland's exported commodities increased in value with drink exports rocketing by more than 27%.

Trade minister Richard Lochhead said the data was "extremely encouraging".

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He said: "These latest figures show Scotland is recovering from the pandemic at a faster rate than the UK, demonstrating the importance and the success of our Export Growth Plan. This is also testament to the resilience and quality of businesses in Scotland.

“It is extremely encouraging that all but one of our exported commodities have increased in value. Drinks exports showed impressive results increasing by 27.4% as well as machinery and transport exports, which increased by 27.3%.”

The Export Growth Plan - entitled A Trading Nation: A Plan for Growing Scotland's Exports - was published in 2019 and outlines an ambition to grow Scotland's exports to 25% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2029.

If achieved it is estimated that this would contribute £3.5 billion to GDP, create around 17,500 jobs and add around £500 million in tax to the economy every year.