As I look back on the recent Glasgow Chamber of Commerce trade mission to Shanghai, I am filled with a sense of pride. This journey, part of an International Trade Partnership with the Scottish Government, was a remarkable experience that showcased the incredible potential for Glasgow and its businesses in the global marketplace.

Our delegation consisting of eight diverse Scottish organisations spanning hospitality, energy and sport made a significant impact at the Sixth China International Import Expo (CIIE), opening doors to new collaborations and solidifying existing partnerships.

At the heart of our mission was the establishment of meaningful connections and the promotion of Scottish products and services. The CIIE, with its massive attendance of over 400,000 registrations, provided a platform for our businesses to engage with distributors, buyers, and the public. The enthusiasm and interest shown by the Chinese audience were palpable, underscoring the demand for high-quality Scottish goods and services.

One of the highlights of the trip was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Shanghai Enterprise Confederation, a pivotal step in strengthening the Chamber's ties with our Chinese counterparts. The Confederation operates similarly to a Chamber of Commerce in China, offering a gateway for collaboration, knowledge exchange, and mutual support. The warm welcome we received reflects the genuine interest in Scotland and the potential for fruitful collaboration.

Our delegation's success also extended beyond the Chamber, with individual businesses securing key agreements. House of Glenroy, producers of the esteemed 15-year-old Inveravon single malt whisky, signed an MOU with Orient Enterprise Co, marking a significant stride in promoting Scottish spirits in the Chinese market. Rangers Football Club, represented by Gary Gibson, inked a collaboration with Donghua University and Shanghai Campus Football Development Centre, focusing on the Rangers Soccer Academy.

These agreements not only open new avenues for business but also contribute to cultural exchange and international understanding. Reflecting on our packed schedule, which included site visits, signing ceremonies, and networking events, it's clear that the trade mission was more than a business endeavour; it was an opportunity to forge friendships and foster understanding between our communities.

The week-long immersion allowed us to showcase Scottish brands and technology, strengthening relationships that will undoubtedly endure beyond this recent engagement.

Our visit to the Hongqiao International Hub, where Scottish products can be showcased long-term, exemplifies the lasting impact we aim to achieve. This space represents a bridge between our nations, facilitating continued exposure for Scottish businesses in the Chinese market, giving businesses the chance to plant roots for trade with China.

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Learning from these trade experiences is invaluable for local businesses. It fosters adaptability, cultural understanding, and the ability to navigate complex regulatory landscapes.

Looking ahead, we are not resting on our laurels. The success of this trip serves as a springboard for future initiatives, and we are mere days away from our next mission, with COP28 in the UAE on the horizon.

Glasgow Chamber, in collaboration with the British Chambers of Commerce, will form part of a delegation seeking global business engagement as the world increasingly moves towards decarbonisation, presenting opportunities for our businesses to contribute to international solutions.

As we plan for 2024 and beyond, we envision expanding our international trade development efforts. Building on our South East Asia Business Network, we plan a trade trip to the region and a possible visit to the eastern seaboard of the US. The momentum gained from these missions is vital, and we understand the importance of maintaining frequent touchpoints to nurture relationships.

For Glasgow to continue its recent ascent in global rankings and become an even more attractive hub for investment, education, tourism, and international trade, missions like these must evolve in size, scale, and significance.

Glasgow Chamber of Commerce is committed to playing a central role in this evolution, ensuring that the benefits of international collaboration reverberate across our communities and contribute to the prosperity of Glasgow and Scotland on the world stage.

Richard Muir is Deputy CEO of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce