Economic realities of international trade to be tested by Parliamentary Committee

28.02.2013

The economic realities of international trade and inward investment are to be tested by the European and External Relations Committee.

The Committee is launching an inquiry to look at how Scotland is performing against the targets of the Scottish Government’s Country Plan for China and International Framework. In particular, it will examine the role of the China Plan in driving economic growth, inward investment and international trade between Scotland and China.

European and External Relations Committee Convener, Christina McKelvie MSP said:

“Our Committee is looking to understand how support from the Scottish Government helps businesses in their relations and dealings with foreign trade and investment partners. We are visiting businesses across Scotland to hear about their experiences first-hand.

“We are particularly keen to look at the challenges and opportunities for our industries in the Food and Drink,  Renewables and Textiles sectors. Our work will also examine how far Chinese investment to Scottish companies benefits the overall Scottish economy and what concerns such investment might raise.”

Christina McKelvie MSP, along with Committee members Jamie McGrigor MSP and Clare Adamson MSP, will today visit the Scottish Salmon Company in Edinburgh to hear about their experience of exporting products to China and their aims for developing this trade.

Stewart McLelland, CEO of The Scottish Salmon Company said:

“Our focus is to develop our export business and as part of that we have begun to engage with customers in China. We welcome the opportunity to share our experiences to date and working together to ensure that all that can be done is being done, is tremendously important.”

Businesses and organisations involved in trade are encouraged to contact the Committee with their views. The Committee is also particularly keen to hear from businesses working with China, including those in:

  • Oil and Gas
  • Finance
  • Education
  • Tourism

As well as visiting businesses, the Committee will hear formal evidence from relevant stakeholders. As the earliest of the Government’s Country Plans, it is the only plan to be published since the significant change in the world economy.  The inquiry will explore:

  • How successful was the previous China plan in meeting its economic objectives?
  • How effective has the implementation of the economic aspects of the China Plan has been and whether it has reached and assisted the intended businesses?
  • Are the targets for economic engagement with China outlined in the 2012 China Plan achievable, do they go far enough, and have they been sufficiently tailored to address the new economic climate?
  • What more will be needed to support the development of trade and investment with China?
  • Would the absence of the China Plan be a potential disadvantage to trade and investment and does the existence of the Plan as it stands, raise any concerns for stakeholders?

Those wishing to submit their views should do so by Friday 12 April. Written submissions should be submitted electronically (preferably in Microsoft Word format) to countryplans.inquiry@scottish.parliament.uk

Background

Photographs of the launch at the Scottish Salmon Company will be available free of charge from the Scottish Parliament on Thursday afternoon. Please contact Andrew Cowan on 0131 348 5878.

The Scottish Government has developed country plans for the following locations: Canada, China, Europe and the EU, India, Pakistan, South Asia, and the United States of America. The most recent update of the China Plan was published on 4 December 2012. It states its principal priority “of increasing trade opportunities for Scottish business in China and encouraging more Chinese investment in Scottish industry and infrastructure.”

  • In 2011 the estimated total value of international exports from Scotland in (with the exclusion of oil and gas) was £23.9bn, with £4.2bn of this attributed to the food and beverage sector.
  • In 2011 the main export destinations outside of the UK were to the USA, and Europe, however in in the same year, the Scottish Government signed an agreement with the Chinese Government, to allow Scotland to export to China.
  • The next Global Connection Survey, due to be published by the Scottish Government in 2014, will demonstrate to what extent this has influence the way in which Scotland trades and its overall economy.

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