Belfast Telegraph

Trade office opened in China to improve business links

Scottish Chambers of Commerce has opened an international trade office in China to capitalise on opportunities for Scottish businesses.

The official opening in the city of Yantai took place during a visit by a delegation from chambers around Scotland which aimed to explore new trading opportunities and links with business, education and government organisations.

The ceremony was hosted by vice-mayor Madame Zhang Bo, together with senior officials from Yantai municipal government.

Both parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding for trade engagement and partnership, which aims to create an effective channel for exchange of business between Scotland and Yantai.

Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) president Tim Allan, who led the Scottish delegation, said: "The Chinese economy continues to grow at a faster pace than western economies and the rate of growth within new cities such as Yantai and Jinan opens up the potential for Scottish businesses to promote and sell goods and services which Chinese businesses and consumers want and need.

"That demand, together with a more recent policy of 'opening up' to new trading partners and overseas alliances by the Chinese, presents a myriad of opportunities for Scottish businesses to capitalise on.

"Yantai is a city of seven million and SCC's base in Yantai will enable us to plan a comprehensive approach to exploiting the many opportunities in Yantai and further afield."

The Scottish delegation also comprised SCC chief executive Liz Cameron as well as presidents and chief executives from Aberdeen, Ayrshire, Dundee and Angus, Glasgow, Edinburgh and West Lothian, and senior business chiefs.

During the visit, SCC said it held a series of "productive meetings" with senior business people, politicians and local government officials, as well as national think tank bodies in Beijing, Yantai and Jinan in the Shandong province.

SCC said Shandong represents the third largest economy in China with a population of more than 97 million and a GDP in excess of 6.3 trillion yuan (£0.7 trillion).

Key sectors to meet economic needs in the Chinese target cities include electronic information, robotics and artificial intelligence, pharmaceutical, bioscience, manufacturing, engineering and smart technologies.

Ms Cameron said: "This exploratory visit is part of the new partnership which was formed between Scottish business, through our extensive chamber network, and the Scottish Government to utilise the worldwide connectivity of the business community.

"We now have a deeper understanding of how we can achieve the best exchange for business, where the opportunities exist for Scottish organisations and how we can best pursue these."