Chinese trade visit

Chinese trade minister discusses development links

Chinese economic minister Jiang Fan visited Peel's emerging Media City UK and viewed plans for Wigan £125m textile centre as part of his visit last week.

The North West Development Agency hosted the delegation led by Fan, the minister counsellor in the economic and commercial office of the Embassy of People's Republic of China, to promote stronger investment links with China.

The purpose of the trip was to try and raise awareness of inward investment and trade opportunities in the North West and to explore the potential for exploiting closer links with China.

In a statement issued after the trip, Fan said: "I was delighted to have the opportunity to visit the North West to explore ways of developing stronger ties between the region and China. Building closer trade and investment links with the region is something I am keen to develop further and this visit provided a lot of constructive debate on how we can work together to take this forward."

Mark Hughes, executive director of Enterprise and Skills at the NWDA, added: "China is a key market for the North West. The region secured 17 investments from Chinese companies during 2006/07 and exported over £360m of goods to China in 2006. The NWDA is working with our partners to capitalise on this and create new trade and investment opportunities with this important market.

"This visit provided a valuable opportunity to showcase the North West as a world-class business location, and to identify opportunities to strengthen the Chinese presence within the region."

The minister visited drugs giant Astra Zeneca, as well as meeting with UKTI Northwest and the China Britain Business Council to discuss trade links with China. Midas, Manchester's inward investment agency, also presented on the strengths of the Manchester city region and the dedicated support available to Chinese companies.

Fan also toured Liverpool, in a visit organised by Chinalink, and took part in a roundtable discussion with representatives from Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, Liverpool City Council, Wirral Borough Council, The Mersey Partnership, Liverpool Vision, the Port of Liverpool, Peel Development and Susino (UK) Ltd, discussing various on-going and future projects to promote two-way trade and investment with China.

Wigan council presented its plans for a £125m textile manufacturing hub which will create the largest clothing and textile industry centre in Europe. The project, which will be home to a large number of Chinese companies trading with the UK and Europe, is expected to create at least 1,000 jobs and a further 3,000 in spin off industries.

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