CBBC Scotland Members Briefing
CBBC members are invited to join this exclusive briefing on Scotland-China relations with Martin McDermott, Scottish Government’s Representative to China, and Kevin Liu, Senior China Representative for Scottish Development International (SDI), on Thursday 4 March 2021.
Martin and Kevin will provide an update on the Scottish government’s work in China and will then discuss Scotland-China relations more broadly.
Scotland-China ties have grown from the so-called panda diplomacy years, through trade deal challenges, to the First Minister’s visit to China in 2018 followed by Trade and Investment Minister Ivan McKee’s visit in 2019 and renewed hope of a high-level Chinese visit to Glasgow for the COP26 summit later this year.
There are now over 10,000 Chinese students studying in Scotland with almost 20 Scottish and Chinese universities having established partnerships.
Employment supported by Chinese students’ spends, from those at the University of Edinburgh and University of Glasgow, has risen by 55% over the last five years.
According to CBBC’s recent report with Cambridge Econometrics, 10,000 jobs in Scotland are now supported by ties with China.
Beyond the education and tourism sectors, energy, environment and infrastructure are also key areas for Scotland-China cooperation.
In 2019, just over a quarter of the UK’s goods exported to China came from Scotland, approx. value £4.5 billion, largely comprising petroleum and petroleum products.
However, with Scotland due to host COP26 in November 2021 and China pledging to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060, there are ripe opportunities for innovative environmental collaboration.
Join this member briefing to get the lowdown direct from Beijing.
Scottish Government’s Representative to China, British Embassy – Beijing
Martin McDermott is the Scottish Government’s Representative to China, based in the British Embassy in Beijing. Martin joined International Division in January 2017 and was deployed to China on 1 May 2017.
Martin joined the Scottish Government in June 2003. He has held a variety of policy positions across Scottish Government Directorates, including in Justice, Education and Lifelong Learning.
Martin’s recent posts include leading public and stakeholder engagement in the run up to the referendum on Scottish independence in 2014 and as Head of Legislation, Finance and Delivery within the Social Security Directorate, responsible for establishing Scotland’s social security agency and implementing new social security powers transferred to the Scottish Parliament as a result of the Scotland Act 2016.
Martin grew up in Motherwell, North Lanarkshire and graduated with an LLB (Hons) in Scots Law from the University of Glasgow in 2002.
Senior China Representative, Scottish Development International (SDI)
Kevin Liu is the senior China representative for Scottish Development International (SDI), Scotland’s international economic agency. He leads team of 12 trade and investment officers focused on growing Scottish exports to China, and attracting quality Chinese investment into Scotland. In addition, Kevin heads up SDI’s Asia Pacific energy trade team, consisting of sector specialists in Beijing, Mumbai, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo and Melbourne, who are responsible for promoting Scotland’s world-class project development, engineering and technology expertise to the Asian energy industry.
Prior to joining SDI, Kevin enjoyed a diverse and mainly private sector career, including political risk forecasting for governments, multinationals and financial institutions; exporting European FMCG products to mainland China and Taiwan; heading up sales and marketing for a Scottish whisky distillery start-up; and managing Asia Pacific communications and marketing for the UK Department for International Trade