A UNIVERSITY has been recognised as an official training partner for China, in a Scottish first.

The University of the West of Scotland (UWS) received accreditation from China’s State Administration for Foreign Expert Affairs (SAFEA) and becomes part of an elite group providing foreign expertise and training to organisations in the country.

SAFEA is the Chinese government agency responsible for certifying foreign experts to work in mainland China and for organising overseas training for Chinese professionals.

The accreditation will allow UWS to deliver and share training in several areas, including creative media, cultural diplomacy, tourism, environmental health, international innovation and healthcare.

It is the first official link between China and Scotland focused on training and it is hoped it will help open new opportunities for partnership working in commerce, industry and business.

The news came as First Minister Nicola Sturgeon takes part in a trade mission, led by Scottish Development International (SDI) and incorporating visits to Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong.

“UWS has a strong track record of positive engagement and cooperation with partners at a national and international level,” Sturgeon said.

“This accreditation … will help to further strengthen Scotland’s academic and cultural links with China, enabling our two countries to continue to share expertise and best practices in a broad number of areas.”

UWS principal and vice-chancellor Professor Craig Mahoney added: “UWS has a long and proud history of friendship with China. We are absolutely delighted our already strong foundations of partnership and collaboration have been further strengthened through this important accreditation by the Chinese state administration.

“This will have significant importance for the university and for Scotland as a whole and open up new and impactful areas of activity.”

China, meanwhile, is filing a complaint with the World Trade Organisation against US tariffs on its steel and aluminium products.

The Geneva-based trade body said China had requested 60 days of consultations with the US to resolve the dispute.

“If the two sides cannot agree on a solution, the next step could be for Beijing to request an expert panel ruling.