Scottish Chambers of Commerce opens trade office in China
Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) has officially opened a new international trade office in Yantai, China.
The announcement came during a trade mission to China involving business leaders from across Scotland.
SCC said a recent Chinese policy of opening up to new overseas alliances presented "a myriad of opportunities" for Scottish businesses.
It added there was potential to sell goods and services which Chinese firms and consumers wanted and needed.
The trade mission saw SCC hold meetings with senior business people, politicians and local government officials, as well as "think tanks" in Beijing, Yantai and Jinan in the eastern province of Shandong.
The Scottish delegation was led by SCC's new president, Tim Allan, and chief executive Liz Cameron.
During the visit, SCC signed a memorandum of understanding for "trade engagement and partnership" with senior officials from the Yantai municipal government.
Ms Cameron said: "This exploratory visit is part of the new partnership which was formed between Scottish business, through our extensive chamber network, and the Scottish government to utilise the worldwide connectivity of the business community.
"We now have a deeper understanding of how we can achieve the best exchange for business, where the opportunities exist for Scottish organisations and how we can best pursue these.
"We have also identified several potential opportunities for inward investment into Scotland and will be working with Scottish government and SDI as well as other trade organisations to explore these and leverage the momentum of change within China."
She added: "Our next steps will be to undertake a deep-dive of companies based in Scotland who have products, skills and expertise which have the potential to be exported to the Shandong Province area.
"Our aim is to add impetus to the Scottish economy by assisting companies who have not previously thought about exporting to grasp the potential that international trade offers."
According to SCC, Shandong Province represents the third largest economy in China, with a population of nearly 100 million.
Key sectors it has identified as being of interest to Scottish businesses include robotics, bioscience, manufacturing, engineering and smart technologies, agriculture, food and drink and football management.
SCC said there were also opportunities in consumer goods, recreation and tourism services, financial and professional services and education.
SCC intends to return to the province later this year to "explore new ways to foster co-operation between the two countries".