Scotland business

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon leads China trade mission

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon Image copyright PA
Image caption Ms Sturgeon will raise the issue of women's rights in a major speech in Beijing

Scotland's first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, is heading to China for a trade mission which aims to improve links between the two countries.

Ms Sturgeon has a series of engagements in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, which are designed to promote Scottish businesses.

The first minister will bring together Scottish companies and Chinese investors during the five-day trip.

She will also undertake cultural and educational visits.

Ms Sturgeon is due to speak about women's rights in a keynote address to 100 senior women in government, academia and business in Beijing.

She will also raise the issue of human rights with Chinese authorities.

'Distinctive approach'

The first minister said: "I will be in China to promote Scottish innovation in all forms - from our emerging technology companies to our trailblazing Scottish designers to our oil and gas expertise.

"But Scotland's innovation isn't just about technology, we are also promoting a very distinctive approach to creating a more competitive economy - one that is based on a fair society.

"One of the guiding principles of our engagement with China is respect for human rights and the rule of law."

She added: "I also believe that economic growth and equality are two sides of the same coin.

"That is why I will be speaking about women's rights and the benefits equality can bring to the economy - both here in Scotland and for China."

Chinese visitors are estimated to have contributed £112m to the Scottish economy in 2012 and 2014, with exports to China reaching record levels of almost £580m in 2013.

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