Chairman Tim Allen,
Ambassador Dwia Valentine,
Ms. Liz Cameron,
Counsel-General Ma Qiang,
Ladies and Gentlemen:
It is a real delight to join you for the third time in the past two years. I wish to thank the Scottish Chamber of Commerce (SCC) for making today’s event possible.
In recent years, SCC has been committed to advancing cooperation with China. Your efforts have delivered many positive outcomes.
SCC has set up its first International Trade Office in Yantai, Shandong Province.
And it signed a cooperation agreement with the Inner Mongolian General Chambers of Commerce during the 15th World Chinese Entrepreneurs Convention last October.
I am glad to see such a sound momentum in China-Scotland relations. I would like to borrow the initials of SCC to summarise the three features of this important relationship.
The first letter S stands for solid. China-Scotland relationship enjoys a solid political foundation.
Recent years have seen frequent high-level exchanges between our two sides. Senior Chinese officials have made successful visits to Scotland, including Vice Premier Liu Yandong and Party Secretary of Beijing Cai Qi.
In the other direction, top officials of Scotland have made equally successful visits to China.
Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, visited China twice;
Others include Ivan McKee, Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation of the Scottish Government;
These high-level exchanges have charted the course for China-Scotland cooperation.
Last May, Shenzhen and Edinburgh became the sixth pair of sister cities between China and Scotland. This has given a fresh boost to the regional cooperation between our two sides.
Last year, the Scottish Government issued its new five-year plan on cooperation with China, which provided new impetus to China-Scotland relations.
The second letter C stands for concrete. China-Scotland business cooperation has deepened and produced concrete outcomes.
In 2018, trade between China and Scotland reached 3.66 billion pound.
Last year when attending an SCC event, I was asked when average households in China could have Angus beef on their tables. Last June, during the tenth China-UK Economic and Financial Dialogue, I, on behalf of the Chinese Government, joined the British Minister of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in signing the China-UK Beef Protocol. Today, I am happy to tell you that British beef will return to the Chinese market from the end of this year.
Last month, Glenfiddich was well received by Chinese consumers at the second China International Import Expo in Shanghai.
More and more Chinese companies are making investments in Scotland. The Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm, which has the investment of Beijing-based SDIC Power, was officially launched last August.
Shenzhen set up a creative industry incubation centre in Edinburgh and this was reciprocated by Edinburgh. The centres have already hosted a number of promotion events. They have become effective platforms for the cooperation between the creative industries of the two cities.
The third letter C stands for close. China and Scotland have seen increasingly close cultural and people-to-people exchanges.
Across Scotland, there are five Confucius Institutes and 44 Confucius Classrooms; more than 40,000 students are learning the Chinese language. In proportion to its population, Scotland has more Confucius Institutes and Classrooms than any other parts of the world. In May last year, I unveiled a Confucius Classroom in the farthest north of Scotland, on the island of Yell, Shetland Islands.
At the same time, 13,000 Chinese students are studying here in Scotland. Some 20 Scottish universities have carried out exchanges and cooperation with Chinese universities. The University of Electronic Science and Technology of China and the University of Glasgow have set up a Joint Research and Innovation Centre. Earlier this year, this centre was officially launched.
The first direct flight Between Beijing and Edinburgh was opened, which greatly facilitated mutual visits between the people of China and the people of Scotland. In 2018, more than 200,000 Chinese tourists visited Scotland. That was twice the figure five years ago.
Moreover, the world-famous Edinburgh International Festival has attracted many top art groups from China.