The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Friday, 31 January 2014

Record year for Scottish exports to China

First Minister welcomes positive numbers
in his Chinese new year message

By: Murdoch MacDonald

Exports from Scotland to China were at their highest ever level in 2013, totalling almost £560 million. 

Latest figures from the Global Connections Survey have shown a rise in food and drink exports and in sectors such as chemicals and engineering, contributing to a total increase of 30 per cent from the previous year.



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First Minister Alex Salmond announced the new figures in his Chinese new year message heralding the arrival of the year of the horse, noting that ‘the strength of the ties’ between Scotland and China will allow the solid economic link between the two countries to continue to flourish for decades to come.

Mr Salmond said: “As we say farewell to the year of the snake, and look forward to the year of the horse, a very lucky year coming ahead, I’d like to wish a very happy new year to the people of China and Chinese people everywhere. 

“Just three months ago I visited Beijing and Hong Kong. It was my fourth visit to China as First Minister. Once again, I saw the strength of the ties and growing relationship between our two countries. 

“During the visit, eight Scottish companies signed agreements with Chinese firms in sectors such as digital technology and oil and gas. Eight is a lucky number in China; 88 has been doubly lucky for Scotland. Our exports to China have increased by 88 per cent in five years. Our Global Connections Survey this week reported a 30 per cent increase between 2011 and 2012 alone.  It is clear that China sees Scotland, the land of invention, as an important business partner.

“But our friendship is based on far more than economics. Just two years ago, we welcomed Tian Tian and Yang Guang, our giant pandas, to Edinburgh Zoo, more than a million people have now been to see them. 

“We have strong cultural links. A team from Historic Scotland has used technological expertise of Scotland to create a digital record of China’s Eastern Qing Tombs. 

“During the summer, a spectacular exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland will showcase the achievements of the Ming dynasty. And in the same year that those treasures from China come to Scotland, three of our performing companies, Scottish Ballet, the Chamber Orchestra and the National Theatre of Scotland will go on tours of China and Hong Kong. 

“And there are close ties between our educational institutions. Heriot Watt recently signed an agreement to become the fifth Scottish University to establish a Confucius Institute. More than 8,000 people from China now study at our universities and colleges. 

“Many schools, as well as universities, are holding special events to mark Chinese new year. Some are hosting traditional art workshops. Others will go to Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall, to see a special concert from a Chinese children’s choir. St Ninian’s High School in Giffnock, which won a global award last month at the World Confucius Institute Conference in Beijing, is planning a celebration of Chinese dance, music and songs. 

“It’s a great sign for the future that young people in Scotland are learning about China, and that young people from China are learning about, and studying in, Scotland. It means that we can look forward to many more years of co-operation between our two nations. And it shows that the friendship between Scotland and China will continue to flourish, during this year of the horse, and for decades to come. 

“So as First Minister of Scotland, I would like to wish all of you a very happy new year.” 

Key facts:

• New data from the Global Connections Survey shows that exports from Scotland to China in 2012 were up over 30% to £560 million, compared to 2011 when they were £425 million.

• From 2007 – 2012 the share of Scottish exports to China has also increased from 1.9 per cent to 2.6 per cent of Scottish exports. Source: HMRC, Regional Trade Statistics

• There has been a significant export growth in the last five years. Food increased by 343 per cent to £19.5 million, beverages increased by 78 per cent to £73 million and machinery and transport equipment increased by 77 per cent to £249 million. Source: HMRC, Regional Trade Statistics

• Chinese visitors brought £29m into the Scottish economy in 2010-12 (Source: Office for National Statistics’ International Passenger Survey)

• Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Strathclyde and Heriot-Watt Universities all have Confucius Institute Status.

Full details of Scottish productions in the Far East:

• Scottish Ballet are touring their production of Matthew Bourne’s ‘Highland Fling’ to Hong Kong from 21-24 February 2014.

• The Scottish Chamber Orchestra are planning a tour of the Far East including a performance at the Cultural Centre, as part of Hong Kong Arts Festival, on 20 and 21 February 2014.

• ‘Dragon,’ a co-production between the National Theatre Scotland, Vox Motus and Tianjin People’s Art Theatre will premier in June 2014.

• The Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of David Greig’s sequel to Macbeth, ‘Dunsinane,’ will tour Shanghai and Hong Kong in Spring 2014.


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