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"If we are to deliver improved productivity and sustainable economic growth, we will need to place greater emphasis on exports. The Scottish economy is already open to world markets, however, further integration with the world economy off. The success of Scottish exports reflects the competitiveness of Scottish companies, their links to world markets and world economic conditions. The Scottish export market has faced challenging conditions over the past five years. The manufacturing sector, particularly electronics, was heavily exposed to a global economic slowdown between 2000 and 2003. In addition, increasing global competition has seen many low cost producers relocating manufacturing activity to the lower cost economies of Asia and Central and Eastern Europe. This evaluation is based on: any difference in the gap within +/- 0.1 percentage points of last year's figure suggests that the position is more likely to be maintaining than showing any change (where the gap is calculated as exports growth rate minus GDP growth rate). An increase in the gap of 0.1 percentage points or more suggests the position is improving; whereas a decrease of 0.1 percentage points or more suggests the position is worsening. In 2009, GDP growth was 0.1%, whereas exports grew by 4.6%. The gap was +4.5 percentage points, compared with the difference of 5.5 observed for 2007.



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