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Chambers explores links

New opportunities for China-Scotland trade

China yuan vid

Scottish Chambers of Commerce chief executive Liz Cameron says several potential opportunities have been identified for inward investment into Scotland.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed with Chinese officials and a Scottish delegation from the chambers during a visit to Shandong Province, led Ms Cameron and the chambers’ new president, Tim Allan.

An office has been opened in Yantai, a city of seven million citizens. Shandong province is the third largest economy in China with a population of 97 million and a GDP in excess of 6.3 trillion yuan (£0.7 trillion).

Presidents and CEOs from chambers throughout Scotland were accompanied on the trip by senior business executives, including entrepreneur David Valentine of Valentine International, and former SCC chairman Nora Senior. 

During the trade visit, which was six months in the planning, the chambers held a series of meetings with senior business figures, highly influential politicians and local government officials as well as national ‘think tanks’ in Beijing, Yantai and Jinan in the Shandong Province.

Tim AllanMr Allan (right) 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.

“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.

“The aim of our mission was to strengthen relationships and increase engagement with existing and new contacts in sectors where there are direct B2B or knowledge-share opportunities for Scottish companies. 

“SCC’s base will enable us to plan a comprehensive approach to exploiting the many opportunities in Yantai and further afield.”

Shandong accounts for more than 25% of all China’s wine production.  Yantai is the biggest trading port in North China and in 2016, the city imported $19 billion (£14.7 billion) of goods and services. 

The city of Jinan is home to one of the first national high-tech business incubators and since its foundation in 2002, it has incubated more than 1,000 small and medium sized science and technology enterprises. 

Ms Cameron said: “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.

 “We have also identified several potential opportunities for inward investment into Scotland and will be working with Scottish Government and SDI as well as other trade organisations to explore these and leverage the momentum of change within China.”

Liz CameronMs Cameron (right) said the Chambers will identify firms in Scotland with the products, skills and expertise which have the potential to be exported to the Shandong Province area.

SCC will return to Shandong Province this year to conclude discussions on further Memorandums of Understanding and explore ways to foster co-operation between the two countries.

Chambers in Scotland have already led trade missions to Italy, Iceland, Iran, Germany and the US, with further country visits planned this year to a number of key destinations. 

Delegate List:

Alison Henderson

Chief Executive

Dundee & Angus Chamber of Commerce

Colin Loveday


Dundee & Angus Chamber of Commerce

Dave Valentine

International Trade Ambassador (China)

Scottish Chambers of Commerce

James Bream

Director of Policy & Research

Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce

Linda Scott

Chief Executive

West Lothian Chamber of Commerce

Liz Cameron

Chief Executive

Scottish Chambers of Commerce

Liz McAreavey

Chief Executive

Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce

Neil Amner


Glasgow Chamber of Commerce

Nora Senior

International Trade Emissary

Scottish Chambers of Commerce

Tim Allan


Scottish Chambers of Commerce

Val Russell

Chief Executive

Ayrshire Chamber of Commerce



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