Planning for another trade mission out East

COUNCILLORS could soon be on their way to China as part of an ongoing trade and tourism link.

In a report, Eric Lowson, director of infrastructure services, gave an update on the continuing progress and outcomes of the Angus in China Initiative and seeks approval for a trade mission in March next year.

He said: “Angus Council has been active in promoting trade and tourism links with China since 1998.

“There have been significant outcomes for the benefit of local businesses and the general economy of Angus. Indeed, the council’s success in China is widely recognised by the Scottish Government and other organisations and Angus Council is often cited as the leader among Scottish authorities in this field.

“A key ingredient to the success of the ‘Angus in China Initiative’ has been the Sister Area Agreement between the Government of Yantai and Angus Council which was signed in 1999.

“This provides for reciprocal visits by representatives of the respective governments on a biannual basis in order to foster business and economic development links.”

The last trade mission to Beijing, Yantai and Shanghai took place in April and May of 2010 with a further trip in October 2010 for those who could not make it earlier in the year due to the Icelandic volcanic ash.

Many from Angus who travelled had business interests in agriculture, music, production/publishing, industrial textiles, whisky, renewable energy and golf tourism.

Also in October, an invitation was extended to the Gordon School of Dancing to participate in the eighth China International Folk Art Festival.

Mr Lowson said: “Support was also given on the visit to two representatives – a local construction and recycling firm, a local architect and a representative of Carnoustie Golf Links Management Committee on their first visit to China.”

A further visit was taken in July 2011 by the deputy leader of the administration and the head of economic development and environmental and consumer protection.

Mr Lowson said: “The purpose of the visit was to strengthen the efforts taken to increase the existing and extensive trade and tourism links with China and especially assist in increasing the Carnoustie brand awareness in China golfing circles.”

For the proposed trip in March 2012 the head of economic development and environmental and consumer protection will organise an employer-led trade mission to China.

Mr Lowson said: “The mission will not be authorised unless there is an expressed demand from businesses to participate. The main purpose will be to support the interests of the businesses as well as promoting the interests of other businesses who are unable to participate.

“The opportunity will also be taken to promote Angus as a tourism destination.”

He concluded: “China is now a global player on the world stage and its influence is forecast to increase in the years to come. It therefore makes sense for the Scottish Government, business support organisations and Angus Council to engage with the market for economic gain.

“The Angus in China Initiative has provided a large number of Angus companies with support in their efforts to take advantage of business opportunities and the opportunity for the council to promote Angus as a golfing and holiday destination.

“The proposed trade mission will strengthen ties with China and assist economic recovery in Angus.”