Communities Secretary Greg Clark today (22 March 2016) welcomed a senior delegation of Chinese regional leaders to an historic summit to highlight investment opportunities across the Northern Powerhouse and promote stronger UK-China regional collaboration.
The summit, the first of its kind on UK soil, also offered the chance to showcase the government’s historic devolution revolution which is empowering local leaders across the country.
The Northern Powerhouse represents almost a fifth of the UK economy. Ministers want to build on this and therefore are supporting local leaders from the great northern cities to engage with international partners and attract inward investment.
To this end, Mr Clark and ministers from several Whitehall departments met with leaders from Chinese regional government along the Yangtze regional economic belt.
The Chinese delegation will head to Sheffield for a series of discussions with their UK counterparts from across the Northern Powerhouse about the opportunities for collaboration and investment.
The official delegation will hear from UK experts on sustainability, integrated transport planning, primary healthcare and the creative industries.
Communities Secretary Greg Clark said:
The UK is already Europe’s second largest exporter of goods and services to China – this week offered the chance to build on that success.
The UK-China Regional Leaders Summit will take senior Chinese regional leaders out of London to see for themselves the wealth of expertise and experience that businesses and local government across the Northern Powerhouse have to offer.
I am delighted to have welcomed this delegation, led by Madame Li Xiaolin. I now look forward to seeing how regional leaders from the UK and China can work closer together.
Northern Powerhouse Minister James Wharton said:
The Northern Powerhouse was the birthplace of industrial revolution and today is still home to world renowned brands, ambitious businesses and cutting edge research.
By working together to promote the north of England we can remind the world how much it has to offer and today was an important milestone in that journey.
Commercial Secretary to the Treasury Lord O’Neill said:
This summit is another significant step forward in a new golden era between the UK and China.
Better connecting our great northern cities is at the heart of our plans to build a Northern Powerhouse, and we can learn a great deal from the work China has done to promote its own city clusters.
Chinese leaders are embracing the opportunities to deepen our ties even further, and play a crucial role to help make our northern cities stronger than the sum of their parts.
2015 was a milestone year in relations between the United Kingdom and China. It was also a turning point for UK-China regional and local cooperation.
In September 2015, the United Kingdom hosted the third High-Level UK-China People-to-People Dialogue. During this, the UK Government agreed to make regional engagement a new strand of discussion, highlighting its significance for both countries’ national agendas.
Policy and commercial collaboration between UK and Chinese regions and cities has expanded to cover a wider range of issues and industries.
From education to fashion, from digital gaming to scientific research, from care of the elderly to football, the regions and cities, organisations and peoples are working ever more closely.
The UK government wants to support regions and their engagement as international partners. The UK-China Regional Leaders Summit will be a regular event.
Each year, it will provide a platform for different UK and Chinese regions to discuss common challenges and explore opportunities for collaboration.
Companies and entrepreneurs from those regions and cities represented will use the summit to identify opportunities to trade and invest as well as do business together.