China / Government

Sino-Scottish deals worth £43m announced

By Zheng Xin ( Updated: 2015-07-27 19:47

China and Scotland announced new partnerships in Beijing on Monday estimated to be worth £43.15 million to the Scottish economy with 70 new jobs created.

The agreement was signed during Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's trade mission to improve links between the two countries while promoting Scottish businesses.

"Scotland is well placed to benefit from China's strategic focus on innovation, with our longstanding expertise in sectors which have been identified as essential for China's future prosperity," said Sturgeon during her inaugural visit to Beijing.

"Our world class universities and research base and an ever-growing base of innovative Scottish companies across energy, life sciences, technology, financial services and entertainment fits well with China's long-term investment plans for these sectors".

Julian Taylor, executive director Asia Pacific, Scottish Development International, said the deals are in accordance with the growing demand in China for Scottish expertise and quality products.

"International trade and exporting is one of the most significant ways in which companies can grow and many Scottish companies already have long-standing, profitable partnerships in China," he said.

"These are significant opportunities for many Scottish companies to realize the benefits of expansion into the market".

According to the first minister, the value of Scottish food and drink exports to China went up 12 percent to £85million last year, and China has become one of Scotland's most important trading partners with the value of food and drink exports to China ballooning 83 percent since 2007.

Emerging markets such as China are growing more interested in Scottish produce and the figures reveal that Scottish produce is well sought after, she said.

The first minister has undertaken cultural and educational visits during the trade mission, and also announced an extra 21 Confucius Classrooms will be created in Scotland to teach primary pupils Mandarin to boost their language skills while meeting 80 Scottish school pupils during a summer learning exchange program in China.

Supporting Scotland's 1-2 languages policy that allows children to learn two languages in addition to their native language as of 2020, the program is meant to better prepare students for life and work in an ever multi-cultural and global marketplace, in which Mandarin has become one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, said Sturgeon.

More than 200 schools and 20,000 pupils in Scotland learn about China and its language, including those who learn through the 14 Confucius Classrooms in secondary schools across 18 Scottish local authorities.

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