SCOTTISH companies have been handed the chance to stake a claim for work in a multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure programme stretching from China to Europe.

It comes after Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with its counterpart in China on the eve of a chamber-led trade mission to the Shenzen, Beijing and Shandong Province from Scotland.

And it follows a flurry of a commercial and cultural links signed between Scotland and China announced during First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s visit to the Asian economic powerhouse this week.

The chambers agreement was signed as part of the Belt and Road Trade & Investment Forum in Beijing, attended by around 500 Chinese officials, national leaders and business representatives from more than 70 countries.

China’s Belt & Road initiative, a key policy of President Xi Jinping, aims to link China to the West via a land and maritime infrastructure network across Eurasia. SCC said the programme is estimated to require $4-$8 trillion of investment, with opportunities for non-Chinese companies to win work on the projects.

The 11-point Belt and Road MoU was signed by David Valentine, SCC’s international trade ambassador for China, and Mr Sun Xioa, director general for multilateral cooperation with the China Chamber of International Commerce.

Mr Valentine said: “This is an historic agreement that will give Scottish businesses enhanced access to one of the most ambitious and visionary infrastructure plans of the modern era.”