Scotland's International Framework: China engagement strategy

Scotland's commitment to a strong, long-term, bilateral partnership with China.

Scotland's Commitment To A Strong, Long-term, Bilateral Partnership With China

Why China?

As we build sustainable economic growth in Scotland and continue to be an outward looking nation, China remains a priority country for our international engagement. With steady economic growth, the world's largest population and increasing international partnerships, China has an important global role. China's ambitious economic growth and infrastructure programmes, such as the monumental Belt and Road Initiative, offer valuable opportunities for Scotland's businesses and institutions.

China's 13th Five Year Plan (2016-20) sets out clear ambitions in areas such as science and innovation, inclusive economic growth, gender and health equality, the development of green industries, increasing employment and access to quality education, many of which chime with Scottish Government priorities and aspirations. Furthermore, China's positive commitment to addressing climate change through the UN Paris Climate Agreement is significant.

We are committed to working collaboratively and constructively with China, focusing on areas of maximum mutual benefit and where Scotland has a unique story to tell.

Find out more about Scotland in China

Scotland and China

  • Over 30 years of twinning between Glasgow & Dalian
  • Scotland welcomed Chinese Vice-Premier Liu Yandong to Scotland in 2017
  • Scottish Development International has officesin Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Shenzhen
  • 13 Scottish Ministerial visits to China since 2007
  • Over 15,000 Chinese in Scotland (source: 2011 census)
  • First Minister met Vice-Premier Hu Chunhua in Beijing in 2018
  • Annual St Andrew's Day ceilidh in Beijing
  • Scottish Affairs office based in UK Embassy in Beijing
  • The Chinese-Scottish Tartan represents friendship between our two nations
  • Chinese Consulate in Edinburgh for over 20 years
  • Over 30 years of twinning between Edinburgh & Xi'an gateway to the Silk Road

Scotland's commitment to a strong, long-term, bilateral partnership with China

Scotland's international ambitions

One of the key priorities of Scotland's Economic Strategy is internationalisation. Our co-operation with China fully supports this. The aims of internationalisation are defined in Scotland's International Framework:

  • to create an environment within Scotland that supports a better understanding of international opportunities and a greater appetite and ability to seize them; and
  • to influence the world around us on the issues that matter most in helping Scotland flourish.

Scotland's ambitions for working with China complement our Trade and Investment Strategy as well as the UN Sustainable Goals for Development.

Strategic objectives for engagement with China

Scotland's China engagement strategy is aligned to the strategic objectives of the International Framework.

Guiding principles for engagement with China

Scotland and China have common challenges and aspirations on issues such as gender, social and health equity, fair work and climate justice. The Scottish Government is proud of recent initiatives to promote social justice, such as the Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Bill, the Business Pledge, Fair Work Convention and our work on Internationalising Social Enterprise.

We aim to work collaboratively and constructively with China - promoting our values through sharing practical learning and experiences - to encourage an open, honest dialogue. This work will help us to collectively address global challenges, contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and support UN human rights treaties.

Positive People-to-People and Diplomatic relations are the foundation of Scotland's engagement with China. This entails a steady flow of high level delegations, including ministers, to and from China, as well as maintaining good relations with the Chinese Government and UK Government partners such as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. We will continue to build on existing relationships with Beijing, Shanghai, Shandong province, Shenzhen, Tianjin and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, whilst considering other opportunities as they arise.

Respect for Human Rights and the Rule of Law are also fundamental to our engagement with China. This means balancing economic development with social justice. Indeed, the premise that increasing growth and tackling inequality are mutually supportive is at the heart of our engagement with China. Our approach is informed by collaborative work with Scottish human rights organisations.


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