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The Scottish government is planning a major expansion of its food exports to China.
Richard Lochhead, its cabinet secretary for rural affairs and environment, said exports of Scottish salmon to China, for instance, are expected to more than double after surged 103 percent in 2011.
He revealed that overall Scottish food and drink exports to China have risen by around 44 percent year-on-year.
The Scottish figures emerged at Food and Hotel China – the premier food and hospitality event in Shanghai — as Lochhead announced that an estimated 10 million chefs are set to cook with Scottish seafood, following a landmark sponsorship deal with the World Association of Chefs’ Societies.
As a result of the agreement, Scottish salmon and langoustines will be used exclusively by more than 100 world-class chefs in the 2012-14 Chefs Global Challenge, which includes regional competitions in locations such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Italy, and Las Vegas, in the US.
The association has more than 10 million members worldwide and they will be encouraged to use Scottish produce in their restaurants and a series of recipes will be produced to show how Scottish seafood can be used to create delicacies from around the world, including China.
"China is a very important growing market which has huge potential.
"Apart from seafood, Scotland has whisky, mineral water, dairy products as well as red meat for export,” said Lochhead.
The Shanghai food and hotel event came as China continues to focus increased attention on growing domestic consumption, rather than relying on exports.
Last year, China’s domestic consumption replaced investment as the biggest driver of economic growth.
In 2011, China’s exports were worth $1,898.60 billion and imports $1743.46 billion, increases of 20.3 percent and 24.9 percent respectively, according to data from the Ministry of Commerce’s website.
"The rise in domestic consumption is the result of many years of efforts to support spending while curbing investment, with a goal to reduce dependence on external factors,” said Ba Shusong, a researcher with the State Council Development Research Center.
Ba said he believes more consumer spending will be expected in coming years, helped in part by tariff reductions on luxury foreign goods, such as food and drink.