China success marks new era of business-led trade growth
Published 21 Sep 2017Scotland’s business-to-business links with China have reached a “turning point” thanks to pro-active private-sector leadership, the chief executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce Liz Cameron said today.
Speaking in the wake of a milestone event in Glasgow on Tuesday, where SCC hosted Beijing’s Ambassador to the UK H.E. Liu Xiaoming along with Cabinet Secretary for the Economy Keith Brown MSP and 200 Scottish businesses with China interests, Liz Cameron said:
“As the Ambassador said in his excellent speech, we in Scotland need to take solid steps to promote China-Scotland business cooperation.”
“SCC is successfully taking those practical steps. Businesses in Scotland are now recognising that it is they themselves who have the power to increase the nation’s exporting performance. The Scottish Government and its agencies have a role in creating the right environment but we can no longer expect them to magically increase the number of businesses who export. We businesses, large and small, must take more of the initiative ourselves.”
“The new model we are pioneering with our China engagement exploits international business-to-business connections that have been woefully underused up to now. The China project is a turning point. The pro-active engagement of businesses has been phenomenal and the quick and early successes speak for themselves.”
Ms Cameron continued: “China is a massively market but it is just the start. Especially in the wake of the Brexit vote, Scottish business needs to be taking the lead on forging new trade ties in new and exciting markets throughout the world, and through our Chamber network we will support them in this endeavour.”
The recognition of the value of business-to-business (B2B) links was echoed by economy secretary Keith Brown who praised the “extremely important work” of SCC “in collaboration with the Scottish Government.”
“That work is involved in promoting trade through better connections with overseas chambers and their members. It exemplifies something we need to do more of in Scotland. We realise you have many strengths and these are best realised when we work together.”
In his widely-praised speech at Tuesday’s dinner in Glasgow’s Central Hotel, co-hosted by the education organisation The Confucius Institute, Ambassador Liu congratulated the Scottish Chambers of Commerce for their trade activity in China.
In April this year a high-level Chambers delegation opened the network’s first overseas office in Yantai, a port city in China’s 100 million-population Shandong Province.
Mr Liu also urged greater co-operation between Scotland and China more generally saying:
“China and Scotland can find more new areas where our interests converge, where our respective policies align with each other and where we can engage in cooperation.
“This could range from local government collaboration to business and financial ties, from scientific and technological innovation to new energy, and from culture and education to tourism and health care.”
As well as thanking the Ambassador, Liz Cameron also paid tribute to the support of economy secretary Keith Brown for his “true leadership in trusting and respecting the role of the Scottish Chamber Network across Scotland, to inspire and lead the wider Business Community by developing new models of international B2B partnerships.”
Tim Allan, President of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, who led the April 2017 trade visit, and hosted the Glasgow dinner said that Scottish companies should embrace China’s vast global infrastructure investment and trade vision known as One Belt One Road, and urged them to be “China-ready and China-friendly”.
“We must build relationships with Chinese business: to better understand their needs, their interests and their demands and to find ways through relationships, time and trust to meet those needs.” He said.