At the beginning of June this year, an Ernst & Young survey into Scottish growth claimed that that the level foreign investment in the country is at a 15-year high.
The country has seen an upsurge in foreign direct investment (FDI), mainly within the oil and renewable energy sector, from countries such as the US, France, Sweden and Norway. In fact, FDI in Scotland rose 49 per cent in 2012, compared to a three per cent rise in the UK as a whole.
Scotland, with a population of just over 5 million, doesn’t appear to be remotely fretful that it might be punching above its weight. For a number of years now, China has been on its radar for increased foreign investment. The logical next step , according to Members of Scottish Parliament, is to introduce a direct air link.
With a Scottish referendum on independence scheduled for September 2014, the country clearly wants to demonstrate that it can prosper on its own, outside of the UK. For those of us that keep a keen eye on trends in international business and export, this is a particularly interesting time for Scotland, and how it is expanding into new markets and developing trade relationships with other nations.
And air links appear to play a significant role. In conjunction with Scotland’s increased trade, there has been a five-fold increase in international air traffic over the past five years. Flights from Scotland now fly to 75 international destinations.
Introducing direct flight to China would see both an ease in trading, as well as an increase in tourism between the two countries.
It is perhaps easy to forget, but commercial flight links often lay the foundation for any interstate relationship based on diplomacy and trade.
What’s being traded:
Energy: As mentioned, oil, gas and renewable energy are often the basis for foreign direct and investment, and China would will be surely be pursuing a similar route, with the government setting the ambitious target of producing 15 per cent of its power from renewable energy resources.
Scotch Whiskey: According to the BBC, whiskey sales in China amassed an impressive £57 million in revenue. As China’s middle class expands, so too surely will whiskey sales
Students: Not a product as such, but rapid expansion in Sino-Scottish trade is being mirrored within universities. According to the Scotsman newspaper, the number of Chinese students attending Scottish universities rose by 33 per cent between 2011 and 2012, from 4,680 to 6,145.
Trade relations between Scotland and China have grown exponentially over recent years, with both countries reeling the economic benefits. While their cultural identities may be leagues apart, they have become close trading allies, demonstrating that any cultural gap can be crossed and any language barrier can be broken.
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