Hope for stronger Sino-Scots ties

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - NEWS - BY LYNSEY BEWS

The Scot­tish Govern­ment has pub­lished its new China strat­egy, set­ting out plans for stronger trade links with the world’s largest econ­omy.

The doc­u­ment fol­lows the first min­is­ter’s visit to China in April and comes as a new di­rect flight be­tween Edinburgh and Bei­jing be­gins. Min­is­ters want Scot­land to be­come a “pre­ferred trade and in­vest­ment part­ner” in the coun­try in the fields of en­ergy, tech­nol­ogy and en­gi­neer­ing, fi­nan­cial ser­vices, food and drink, life sci­ences, tourism, tex­tiles and ed­u­ca­tion.

They are also com­mit­ted to build­ing co­op­er­a­tion on en­vi­ron­men­tal and sus­tain­abil­ity is­sues and de­vel­op­ing closer links be­tween uni­ver­si­ties and other re­search in­sti­tu­tions.

Cam­paign groups have pre­vi­ously urged the govern­ment not pri­ori­tise Chinese trade links over hu­man rights.

A mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing be­tween the govern­ment and two state-backed Chinese firms, po­ten­tially worth £10bil­lion, col­lapsed in 2016 amid con­cerns over the is­sue. The govern­ment’s strat­egy states: “Re­spect for hu­man rights and the rule of law are also fun­da­men­tal to our en­gage­ment with China. This means bal­anc­ing eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment with so­cial jus­tice.”

It said min­is­ters’ ap­proach is in­formed by “col­lab­o­ra­tive work” with Scot­tish hu­man rights or­gan­i­sa­tions.

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