FM To Promote Women's Rights In China

22 July 2015, 14:22 | Updated: 22 July 2015, 14:26

Nicola Sturgeon is to put women's rights at the heart of a trade visit to China and Hong Kong later this week.

The First Minister will raise the issue in a keynote address to 100 senior women in government, academia and business in Beijing.

She will also embark on a series of engagements in the city, as well as in Shanghai and Hong Kong, aimed at promoting Scottish businesses.

Ms Sturgeon will host an event to bring together Scottish companies and Chinese investors as well as undertaking cultural and educational visits.

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.

"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 contributed £112 million to the Scottish economy in 2012 and 2014, with exports to China reaching record levels of almost £580 million in 2013.

In advance of the trip, the First Minister met Mingliang Chen, chief executive of Chinese company Omega Travel, which has invested £2.8 million in three hotels across Scotland.

Ms Sturgeon added: "The Chinese government has identified innovation as crucial to its economic transformation and access to foreign skills as critical to the country's future success.

"Scotland is a dynamic, successful and modern country with a strong record on innovation - and we are open for business.''