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First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has hailed the “astonishing” growth in Scotland’s food and drink exports to China and said that strengthening international trade links are key to promoting inclusive economic growth, social justice and human rights around the world.

Exports of food and drink to China have increased by more than 150% in the last 10 years, highlighting China’s growing importance as a market for Scottish goods

Scotch whisky exports, worth some £61 million are up 45% compared to 2007.

Fish and seafood continues to be the primary food export to China, valued at about £50 million in 2017, up more than 12-fold compared to the value in 2007. China currently ranks ninth in Scotland’s top ten food export markets.

A range of Scottish industries and activities are experiencing growing Chines interest and promoting these will be a key objective of the First Minister’s first official visit to China in three years. Her visit in Beijing before visiting Shanghai and Hong Kong later this week. She will carry out a series of high-level government and business meetings, alongside cultural and educational engagements.

The First Minister said:

“The astonishing growth in Scottish food and drink exports to China in recent years is testament not only to the high quality of our food and drink produce, but also a stark reminder of the huge opportunities open to us in the Chinese market.

“Of course, food and drink is not the only sector that has been experiencing growing trade. Total exports to China increased by more than 40% last year.

“My visit this week is an opportunity to further promote the best of Scotland in the world’s second-largest economy. It will also help to deepen the long-standing cultural, education and tourism links that exist between Scotland and China.”

Added Patricia Gibson MP

“There is no doubt that, for a country of 5.4 million people, Scotland punches well above its weight in terms of international brand recognition and cultural influence. Making the most of these strengths is key to our future prosperity. I can have much wider benefits as well. The more we can strengthen our overseas links and deepen our relationships, the more opportunity we have to promote our values of social justice and human rights around the world.”

As well as previewing a new global marketing campaign, launching later this week to invite people from around the world to live, work, visit, and invest in Scotland, the First Minister’s programme is designed to promote Scotland’s expertise in a diverse range of fields - from energy to social enterprise and food and drink.

The First Minister will also deliver keynote speeches, including one to a social policy summit hosted jointly by the Scottish Government and UNICEF, outlining how Scotland is seeking to promote the rights of the child during the Year of Young People.

Her first engagement saw her meet students from Scotland who are studying Mandarin in Tianjin through the Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools scholarship programme.

All export figures relate to 2017.

• Total Scottish food and drink exports to China were £117.9, up 153% from 2007 • UK exports of Scotch whisky to China were valued at £61.1 million compared to £42.1 million in 2007, an increase of 45% • 5% of all Scottish food exports, 1.4% of all UK exports of Scotch whisky and 2% of Scotland’s total combined food and drink exports went to China • China is the third biggest importer of Scottish salmon

Source: HMRC Regional Trade Statistics and Overseas Trade Statistics


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