Building links with China

New strategy to bolster trade, investment and exports.

Stronger trade links and exports to the world’s largest economy are at the heart of a new China Strategy.

The document follows on from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s successful visit to China in April in which she carried out a wide range of engagements, including a meeting with Vice Premier Hu Chunhua.

It sets out the Scottish Government’s ambition for Scotland to become a preferred trade and investment partner in China in the fields of energy, technology and engineering, financial services, food and drink, life sciences, tourism, textiles and education.

The engagement strategy, which comes in the same week as the start of a new direct flight between Beijing and Edinburgh, sets out the importance of building on the growing cultural links between the two countries.

There is a commitment to build cooperation on environmental and sustainability issues, and to foster closer links between universities and other research institutions.

Speaking during a visit to the Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop said:

“China is one of the Scottish Government’s priority countries for international relations, and the reasons for that are clear. As the world’s largest economy, and one where the links with Scotland are already strong, there are significant opportunities.

“This strategy sets out how we aim to build on those links to the benefit of Scotland – whether that is the business community, educational institutions or cultural organisations. It explains why closer collaboration in a range of fields can develop mutual understanding and lead to further opportunity for exports and inward investment.

“The strategy also explains that respect for human rights and equality remain a key part of our relationship with China, and that economic growth and tackling inequality are mutually supportive.”

Commenting on the publication of the strategy, Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) said:

“The Scottish Chambers of Commerce Network welcomes the publication of this important document.  Through our own direct engagement, SCC are keenly aware of the benefits that await the Scottish businesses that proactively engage with their Chinese counterparts.

“Our latest trade mission marked a step change in the development of business-to-business links between Scotland and China, with SCC signing an historic memorandum of understanding with the China Chamber of International Commerce.  At the conclusion of this trade mission, Glasgow based firm Premiership Experience signed a significant seven-figure deal, demonstrating the scale of opportunities for firms within the Chinese market.

“SCC look forward to working in partnership with the Scottish Government and other key stakeholders, to deepen our engagement with China and ensure that Scotland benefits from the continued growth of the world’s largest economy.”


The full China engagement strategy can be read here.

Scotch whisky exports to China were valued at £61 million in 2017, a 47% increase on the previous year (HMRC).


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