Over the course of the three day visit, Mr Pickles will meet with a number of high-profile Chinese businesses, promoting regeneration opportunities across the UK with particular focus on the energy, property and transport sectors.
The two countries have increasingly strong economic ties and the UK is the most popular destination for Chinese investment in Europe. A recent report showed that Chinese investors channelled nearly £12 billion into the UK economy between 2005 and 2013 with that figure projected to swell to £105 billion by 2025.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said:
We have worked hard to throw the door open to China and showcase Britain as a world-class destination to do business. That has led to billions of pounds being invested in our economy, driving forward business and creating jobs. This visit is about further promoting those opportunities and ensuring we have long-term relationships in place that will benefit Britain and China for generations to come.
Landmark investments have included a £1 billion deal to transform London’s Royal Albert Dock into the capital’s next business district, and a £650 million deal to create a new globally connected business destination at Manchester airport.
Mr Pickles will look to build on this impressive track record through a series of meetings with key business leaders and attend a business roundtable hosted by Chinese developer Advanced Business Parks, which will bring together nearly a 100 more potential investors.
Mr Pickles, who will visit Guangzhou and Beijing, will also take the opportunity to showcase the best of the UK’s experience in sustainable urban growth, promoting British companies working in this field.
China’s rapid urbanisation has driven much of its economic success but has also led to problems, including congestion, increased energy use and air pollution. The Chinese are looking to move to a more European-style of urban growth that is compact, liveable and sustainable.
British architects, master-planners, engineers and consultants are already expanding their work in China. UK expertise can be found in many iconic projects in the country, from the Birds-Nest national stadium to the Guangzhou International Finance Centre, to Beijing Capital Airport Terminal 3.
Mr Pickles will further look to promote this work by witnessing UK company Atkins sign a strategic cooperation framework agreement with China Communication Construction Company in a new Atkins-designed iconic building in Guangzhou.
In between Mr Pickles will meet with China’s leaders and policy-makers to drive forward cooperation on sustainable urbanisation, and to highlight the UK’s strengths in green urbanisation, community involvement and protection and development of historic buildings.