Partnership agreement strengthens links with China

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First Minister Alex Salmond today signed a partnership agreement with the Tianjin Municipal Government to strengthen business, cultural and educational links between Scotland and China’s ‘new Shanghai’.

The FM visited the rapidly growing ‘city of the future’ in northern China – the birthplace of Scots Olympic athlete Eric Liddell – to learn more about the scale and ambition of the Tianjin Redevelopment Programme.


First Minister Alex Salmond today signed a partnership agreement with the Tianjin Municipal Government to strengthen business, cultural and educational links between Scotland and China’s ‘new Shanghai’.

The FM visited the rapidly growing ‘city of the future’ in northern China – the birthplace of Scots Olympic athlete Eric Liddell – to learn more about the scale and ambition of the Tianjin Redevelopment Programme.

Located east of Beijing, Tianjin has a population of approximately 12 million and is an important logistics, energy and manufacturing centre for the north of China. Scotland already enjoys strong relations with Tianjin and seven Scottish organisations have a presence in the city, including Standard Life, Caledonian Alloys, Heriot Watt University, Retronix, Simclar Tianjin, Wood Group Pressure Control and Worldmark.

In the Memorandum of Understanding signed today, both Scotland and Tianjin agreed to continue to work together to strengthen collaboration in:

  • Trade and investment: to support the expansion of business links and opportunities for Scottish and Chinese companies in areas such as financial services, health, information technology, business, management, media, urbanization, law and art
  • Education: to encourage greater links between our research institutions, universities and colleges so that our young people possess the qualities and skills needed for a 21st century workforce
  • Tourism: to raise awareness of each other’s areas and attractions to increase the flow of visitors to each other’s country
  • Science & technology: to learn more from each other about the role that scientific and technological innovation can play in a successful urbanization programme, particularly in the area of clean and efficient energy use
  • Culture: both sides attach a great importance to learning more about each other’s country, language, history and culture

Mr Salmond said:
“Signing this Memorandum of Understanding with Tianjin represents another positive step forward in strengthening the significant links that exist between China and Scotland.

“Scotland already enjoys strong relations with Tianjin and seven Scottish organisations have a presence in the including Standard Life and Heriot Watt University. Scotland is committed to developing long term, meaningful, relations with this ambitious, vibrant area, due to its high economic success and growth.

“China is set to overtake Japan to become the world’s second largest economy and this important partnership agreement will support our continuing work to increase economic, education, tourism and cultural links between our two nations.

“The Scottish Government and Scottish Development International are supporting a significant Scottish presence in China this week to help raise Scotland’s profile in China as a key destination to live, work, visit and invest.

“China’s growth presents major economic opportunities and the presence of three trade delegations this week reflects the increasing number of Scottish firms that are exploring new opportunities to do trade in China.

Mayor of Tianjin Huang Xingguo said:
“A Memorandum of Understanding Strengthening cooperation between Tianjin Municipal People’s Government and the Scottish Government was signed today.

“It marks a new chapter of the mutual cooperation between us. I believe that our cooperation in the fields of finance and education will reach a fruitful result.”

Full text of the Memorandum of Understanding

Strengthening co-operation between Tianjin Municipal People’s Government and the Scottish Government

1. Both sides agreed that the development of sustainable links between Scotland and Tianjin were important to delivering mutual benefits to both sides. For example, Standard Life and other Scottish based companies have already recognized the importance of developing important economic and business links with this fast growing city in north China.

2. Both sides also welcomed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that had been signed in December 2009 between Learning & Teaching Scotland (LTS) and the Tianjin Municipal Education Commission. This MoU strengthens education collaboration through establishing school links between the Confucius Classroom hubs in Scotland and schools in Tianjin.

3. Both sides acknowledged that there is much more to learn from each other and agreed that the exchange of people, experience, information, ideas and practices would lead to increased understanding and friendship. Both sides agreed to continue to work together to strengthen collaboration in a number of areas including:

(a) Trade and investment: to support the expansion of business links and opportunities for Scottish and Chinese companies in areas such as financial services, health, information technology, business, management, media, urbanization, law and art

(b) Education: to encourage greater links between our research institutions, universities and colleges so that our young people possess the qualities and skills needed for a 21st century workforce

(c) Tourism: to raise awareness of each other’s areas and attractions to increase the flow of visitors to each other’s country

(d) Science & technology; to learn more from each other about the role that scientific and technological innovation can play in a successful urbanization programme, particularly in the area of clean and efficient energy use

(e) Culture: both sides attach great importance to learning more about each other’s country, language, history and culture

4) It was agreed that following the signing of this statement, regular contact will be maintained between the two sides. It was agreed that named contacts in the Foreign Affairs Office of the Tianjin Municipal People’s Government and the Scottish Affairs Office based in the British Embassy, Beijing would be appointed to monitor progress.

5) This statement is not intended to create legally binding obligations between either side and can be amended and complemented at any time, in writing, with the approval of both sides.

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