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Scottish food and drink industry to boost China exports

By Laurence Gibbons , 12-Dec-2012
Last updated on 12-Dec-2012 at 11:35 GMT2012-12-12T11:35:39Z

The Scottish government has launched a five-year plan to strengthen its £1bn food and drink export trade with China.

The project aims to boost trade opportunities for Scottish businesses in China and encourage more Chinese investment in Scottish industry and infrastructure.

It plans to double the number of companies exporting to China, increase direct exports by 50% and double the number of major Chinese investors with a presence in Scotland by 2017.

Scottish exports to the world’s second largest economy are now worth nearly £1.3bn, having generated £220M since the publication of the Scottish government’s first China plan in 2006.

‘Deepen existing ties’

Fiona Hyslop, Scottish government external affairs secretary, said: “Since the first China plan was published we have been working hard to deepen existing ties and establish new areas of co-operation, an approach that is clearly paying dividends.

“Our new China strategy will build on these successes and ensure that Scotland’s engagement with China continues to deliver tangible results – such as the boost to sales of food and drink.”

The plan outlines the aim to increase the visibility of Scotland as a brand, developing the export success of Scotch whisky and Scottish salmon exports.

Whisky exports to China rose 21% to £66M last year. Scotland has secured a Geographical Indication of Origin Status for Scotch whisky, which protects against counterfeit products in that market.

Scottish salmon was awarded an export health certificate allowing its direct exports, worth £38M between January 2011 and August 2012.

Total exports of Scottish food and drink rose by 44% to reach £92M last year, compared with £64M in 2010.

Asia export target

The success in China has resulted in Scotland revising its Asia export target of £5.1bn to £7.1bn by 2017, after the initial target was met six years early.

Last month, Richard Lochead, Scottish rural affairs secretary, led a delegation of 17 Scottish food and drink firms to China and Japan in a bid to boost the £1bn worth of food and drink exports to the region.

Hyslop said: “It is vital that the Scottish government, our agencies and Scotland's business do all they can to continue advancing Sino-Scottish relations, particularly as we pursue opportunities to generate economic growth and build a stronger Scotland.”

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