The UK’s Secretary of State for the Department of Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth, Jake Berry, have led a delegation focusing on building UK-China links for the whole of the UK.
The Secretary of State today launched a drive for closer working with China, alongside Chair of the Midlands Engine, Sir John Peace.
The launch took place at the China International Industry Fair (CIIF) where the UK is Country of Honour. It followed Tuesday’s focus on the Northern Powerhouse.
Broadening and deepening regional and local cooperation is a core element of the UK’s relationship with China. The UK is committed to making the Golden Era of UK/China relations a reality for all our people no matter where they live.
Midlands Engine showcased the strengths of the Midlands region which are aligned with China’s priority sectors and highlighted the many opportunities for Chinese businesses and investors in the region.
The UK’s Secretary of State for the Department of Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, said:
Britain and China have been trading partners for generations and so I’m eager to make that partnership stronger, more prosperous and mutually beneficial.
At the heart of England, the Midlands, is the perfect place to do that. With an economy worth over £200 billion and a worldwide reputation for advanced manufacturing, the region is home to 440,000 businesses ranging from global brands to innovative start ups keen to enter the Chinese market.
The international connectivity of the Midlands Engine region – plugged into the world stage by excellent road, rail and air networks – also makes it one of the most exciting investment opportunities in Europe.
Last year almost 2,000 Midlands-based companies exported over £3 billion worth of goods to China. This shows how China is an important market to the region, and so we have a real opportunity to strengthen this relationship and build on what is already being successfully achieved.
Chair of the Midlands Engine, Sir John Peace, said:
The strengths of the Midlands - a region with a £207 billion economy - make us a natural partner for China. We already have thriving relationships with several provinces and major cities in China and we are eager to build on these long standing partnerships for mutual economic benefit.
There are many opportunities for Chinese investors and businesses in the Midlands. We are home to cutting-edge research facilities and world-renowned brands in sectors which directly complement the next stage of China’s incredible growth story.
We have a wealth of rich and diverse capabilities in areas such as new energy, next generation transport, innovative food processing, advanced manufacturing and the life sciences. The Midlands is well placed to meet growing demand from China for the very technologies, goods and services that we specialise in.
In addition to launching the International Festival of Business, Tuesday’s focus on the Northern Powerhouse included sessions on The Future of Manufacturing in the Digital Age, and Energy Capabilities and Investment Opportunities in the Northern Powerhouse.
Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth, Jake Berry said:
The Northern Powerhouse is recognized across the world as a great place to do business with. Last year we saw inward investment projects there increase faster than the UK average with almost 20% of UK good exports coming from the region.
Bringing a trade mission to Shanghai has been a fantastic opportunity for the UK to build on what is already a productive relationship with China, showcasing trade and investment opportunities across the North of England.
The British Government supports over forty active partnerships between regions and cities in the United Kingdom and China. Owned by the regions, counties and cities themselves, these bring economic, policy development, educational, cultural and sporting links, benefits and events to people across our two countries.
Starting in March 2016, there has been an annual Regional Leaders Summit, which brings together local leaders from the UK and China to discuss matters of mutual interest, share good practice and develop new avenues of cooperation. The first two Regional Leaders Summits involved the Northern Powerhouse (Sheffield March 2016) and Midlands Engine for Growth (Shanghai November 2016). This year’s Summit will be hosted by the Northern Ireland Government in Belfast in December.
Companies from the East of England are also exhibiting at CIIF. The UK pavilion at CIIF is exhibiting the very best of the UK, with world-leading companies in the auto, aviation, rail, marine, advanced manufacturing and technology sectors present.