It's been announced that talks are due to take place between Scotland and China to allow for direct flights between the two countries. The news was revealed during the week-long trip First Minister Alex Salmond is on in China. The Scottish government says that there will be trade and tourism benefits by creating a direct link between the nations.
Salmond is in China to accompany 40 businesses on a trade mission, and about 25% of the companies are from the salmon industry, which has exported £20 million in fish to China since the countries signed an export agreement in January during a visit from vice premier Li Keqiang to Edinburgh. He also says that representatives from Hainan Airlines, which is a Chinese carrier, will be arriving in Scotland shortly to look at the potential of direct flights.
In a statement, Salmond said that talks for direct flights will take place in early 2012, when a Chinese aviation delegation will visit Scotland. As part of a strategy to support economic growth, the government is determined to improve international air connections to boost trade and tourism with global markets like China. They are working close with the Chinese government now to establish a direct link between the two countries, and he talked about this in his meeting with senior Chinese aviation authority and airline executives.
Salmond added that a high-level industry team has been established in China to investigate the detailed business case and to work with officials of the Scottish government and its agencies. He is very pleased they will visit Scotland in early 2012 to continue the work, to see the nation's infrastructure and to take these plans forward, as they can deliver a big boost to Scottish tourism and to the wider business community.
Confederation of British Industry (CBI) Scotland says the potential of flights between Scotland and China is encouraging news. Assistant director David Lonsdale says that they need to make it easier for firms based in Scotland to access rapid-growing overseas markets and service customers that are foreign-based if they are going to rebalance the economy and achieve targets for exports.
On the subject of human rights, Salmond says Scotland should promote progress in the country through economic co-operation instead of jump up and down about human rights from a distance. He raises the issue of human rights frequently through the ideas of Adam Smith, an 18th century economist. In an interview with BBC Radio Scotland, he said that Smith's work as part of the Enlightenment recognises that economic and social progress go hand-in-hand. It's very important, and he raises this at every meeting because it's a great way to raise the issue without offending anyone.
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