China’s waves of economic activity hit foreign shores.
We’re all aware of many suspicions arising in Western media and politics as regards the rise of China as an economic superpower. However, for Scotland not all chinese whispers are bad news. Recent findings suggesting a huge growth in the exports of Scottish salmon to China not only show positive results for the recent salmon-deal made between the two powers, but also highlights the increasing affluence of Chinese city dwellers and their demand for Western food. However, following the crippling import controls on Norwegian salmon, should these findings be seen as a blessing or a result of Chinese manipulations of the European food market?
BBC news have recently reported the results of HM revenue and customs announcement identifying China as the largest customer for Scottish salmon exports in Asia, with 2,347 tonnes sent in the first half of 2011. This result places it in the top 5 export markets, alongside economic rivals, the USA and three other European nations (France, Poland and the Irish republic). The Scottish government reported that Chinese demand for ‘salmon and salmon products’ was ‘more than 150 percent of total Scottish output’.It sparks good news for bonnie Scotland as it was only in January that an agreement was made following the visit of Vice Premier Li Kiang to the UK on the 9th January, in which various deals were made including a green energy deal and an agreement that allowed for the first time, Scottish Salmon to be direcly imported for the first time into China.
To Chinese culture enthusiasts though, this information will not come as a shock, as there has been an obvious increase in the growing consumption of Western foods in conjunction with the growing affluence of certain individuals in this emerging superpower. Vicky D Liu of the ‘Student life‘ Washington University newspaper attributes this to western food in China being ‘relatively pricey’ and the cudos and ‘envy‘ that comes with its consumption.
Yet this news isn’t all rays of sunshine as it comes following Chinese reaction to the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to sore-point Chinese dissident, Liu Xiaobo in Oslo, Norway. In 2010, the Chinese government imposed strict import controls on salmon exports from Norway, leading to a breakdown in trade for the Scandinavian fishing nation and ‘the sight and smell of North Sea fish rotting in Chinese warehouses’. The British Foreign Office claimed it was in negotiations with the WTO about how to proceed to take action against China, however nobody can doubt that these actions mark a positive outlook for the Scottish salmon industry and the ailing British economy. At the end of the day, it is likely that accusations by Britain condemning China’s supposedly political move against Norway, will slowly dissapear in the glow of prospects of a shiny future for the Scottish salmon industry in China and the oceans of opportunity it will create in the huge economic waves being made by Sino growth. The question that remains is how long will fishy success for Scotland last until China’s political might says otherwise.