Liverpool defends £3m Shanghai Expo trip

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Liverpool's public sector chiefs will this morning outline plans for the city's presence at the World Expo next year in China, claiming £50m of Gross Value Added economic revenue could be generated in the next ten years from increased trade.

The £50m uplift is forecast in a report commissioned by Liverpool City Council and written by consultant Scott Wilson. The figure is put down to additional students at the city's university's, increased export and inward investment. Only if private sector sponsors throw their weight and cash behind the trip will the maximum return be made. The additional GVA could be as low as £5m if no private sponsorship is raised, Scott Wilson said.

Of the £3m estimated cost of attending the six-month event, the council has committed £300,000 to the project, while the North West Development Agency is due to decide upon an application for £1.25m soon.

Members of the business community have criticised the trip for its cost during a recession while businesses at home are failing. Many have poured scorn on the chances of the 2010 inward investment mission bearing fruit given the city's poor track record for attracting net additional jobs in the past.

The remainder of the funding for the trip is to be raised through sponsorship from the private and public sector. Sponsorship packages range from £10,000 to £100,000 and come with a variety of benefits:

  • meetings with Shanghai government officials
  • identification of and introduction to business prospects
  • translation services
  • the processing of visa applications
  • provision of meeting venues
  • targeted publicity
  • complete Shanghai side care package

The city's presence at MIPIM in Cannes this year, by contrast, was supported by six private sponsors paying £4,000 each.

Shanghai Connect, a 32-page prospectus for the Liverpool pavilion will be launched today at the event at the Novas centre. The prospectus was developed by the council, Liverpool-Shanghai Partnership, Liverpool Vision and the North West Development Agency.

The Liverpool exhibition space will convey monthly themes during the life of the Expo, from 1 May to 31 October:

  • urban regeneration, energy, sustainability, environment
  • advanced technology, science
  • culture, health, sport
  • knowledge sector
  • professional services
  • gateway to North West; ports, airports, property development

Cllr Warren Bradley, leader of Liverpool City Council, said: "Liverpool's rise to pre-eminence in the 19th century was built on the strength of its international relationships. Given the importance and power of China and Shanghai in the global economy in the 21stCentury, it is entirely right that we should be putting down a marker now and investing in the Expo for the long-term benefit of the city.

"We are already experiencing very warm interest from potential sponsors and are in negotiations with a number of partners about the scale and nature of their involvement."

Also launched today was Liverpool's Expo website.

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