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Scottish salmon tops UK food, drink exports in Q1

The figures underline the need for Scotland's involvement in the Brexit negotiations, official says. 

Scottish whisky and salmon topped the UK export chart in the first quarter of the year, comprising 22 percent of the total food and drink exports from the country, reports The Scotsman

Overall food and drink exports were worth £1.2 billion (€1.4 billion/$1.5 billion) in the first three months, up £124 million (€141 million/$157.2 million), or 11 percent, on the same period in 2016.

Fish and seafood was the largest food sector, up 30.8 percent, or £48.3 million (€54.9 million/$61.2 million).

The European Union remains Scotland’s largest regional export market outside of the UK, with exports growing by £50 million (€56.9 million/$63.4 million).

Scotland's Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said the figures underlined the need for Scottish involvement in Brexit negotiations

“2016 was a record year for Scotland’s food and drink exports and these new figures clearly show that the sector is going from strength to strength," he said. “What is clear from these figures is that maintaining access to the EU single market is crucial for our food and drink producers and our wider economy.

“Losing access will put Scottish industry at a significant disadvantage, exposing business to damaging export tariff barriers and regulatory requirements," he said. 

“The Prime Minister must include the Scottish government at the Brexit negotiating table, with the starting point for any new approach the continued membership of the Single Market and Customs Union.” 

Ewing’s UK counterpart, Michael Gove, said the UK government will use Brexit “to develop new trade relationships” that benefit Scottish food producers. 

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