Claims that an Independent Scotland would be more prosperous have been challenged again, after a survey revealed over half of firms rely too heavily on the domestic market and many want more expansion abroad - something that would be hampered by a wave of extra trade regulation.
According to the Scottish Chambers of Commerce's (SCC) international trade survey, over half of the 372 respondents said that domestic business was not enough and a whopping 91% stated that growth was a priority.
"The survey indicates that we are reliant on Scotland's home market. In order to sustain growth and create new opportunities, we have to be outward-looking," said Liz Cameron, chief executive of the SCC.
"Scotland's business community need to be better informed that global markets want to buy the products and services we have to offer. If we are serious about stimulating growth and seizing international opportunities for the Scottish economy, we must tackle these barriers head-on."
Overall, 40% of companies said they wanted to grow internationally but feel that export barriers are holding them back. This includes increased regulation and a lack of support, funding and research.
However, with the upcoming referendum, Scotland could face further uncertainties over trade regulation if it becomes independent.
"Scotland's business community need 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%) felt they did not have the right products/services to offer international customers. This is not just a Scottish issue, businesses across the UK are experiencing similar barriers to exporting," said Cameron.
"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."
Scottish people will vote in an independence referendum on 18 September, 2014, and will be asked the straight "yes/no" question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"
Latest polls show that the gap between a 'Yes' and a 'No' vote is rapidly closing but it is still unlikely that a union break will happen.
Other Report Highlights
- 51% of respondents stated that achieving growth in sales and market share over the next twelve months is critical to the survival of their company.
- 40% of businesses have ambitions to grow internationally.
- From the results it can be shown that approximately 1 in 3 businesses currently export.
- 26% of Scottish businesses are proactive exporters while 47% of exporters are reactive.
- The majority of exporters and potential exporters in Scotland, look to Europe, Asia (including the Middle East) and to The Americas for export markets.
- 59% of businesses in Scotland do not think that the UK should leave the EU.
- 56% do not think that the UK should join the Eurozone.