Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire has visited Wuhan, China to launch a new British Consulate General which will open there later this year as part of the Government’s efforts to promote British business in China and to deepen the trading relationship between the two countries.
He was joined by the Vice Governor of Hubei Province, Gan Rongkun and together they unveiled a plaque to mark the beginning of the British Consulate’s work in Hubei province.
While in Wuhan, Mr Swire will also introduce a British business delegation to local counterparts.
This is Hugo Swire’s third visit to China. On his previous visit in May 2014, the Minister visited Xi’an. In December 2013 he accompanied the Prime Minister to Chengdu, as part of the Government’s efforts to increase its engagement with China’s rapidly developing interior cities.
Speaking after the launch, Hugo Swire said:
I’m delighted to mark the opening of the first new British Consulate in China in fourteen years. We have made a concerted effort to increase the number of staff we have in China, to increase the number of Mandarin speakers, and now to expand our network. This is important, long-term planning for the UK’s international future. Wuhan itself currently has over 10,000 construction sites and will be opening a new underground line every year for the next five years. It is vital that Britain gives itself access to the major opportunities that are emerging in these rapidly growing cities, and engages with the increasingly influential decision-makers who live within them.
Mr Swire is accompanied on the visit by a delegation of British businesses covering a range of sectors, from engineering and architecture to accountancy and other service industries. He will explore opportunities for UK businesses in the healthcare, education and low-carbon development sectors in Wuhan, which McKinsey has said is likely to become the third-largest city economy in China by 2025. He will also discuss future partnerships with the city of Manchester, with which Wuhan is already twinned, and oversee the signing of cultural and education agreements between Northern Ireland and Hubei province.
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