Midlands Engine Ministerial Champion Sajid Javid has launched a drive for closer working between the Midlands and China at the China International Industry Fair in Shanghai today (Wednesday 8 November).
Alongside Sir John Peace, Chair of the Midlands Engine Partnership, Mr Javid has showcased the strengths of the Midlands which are aligned with China’s priority sectors and highlighted the many opportunities for Chinese businesses and investors in the region.
The China International Industry Fair (CIIF) is the most influential international industry exhibition in China and the UK is this year’s country of honour at the event.
With over 2,500 exhibitors and 160,000 trade visitors expected to attend, the five day event is providing an opportunity for Chinese investors to link with over 40 companies from some of the largest cities in the region – Birmingham, Nottingham and Derby.
The Communities Secretary and Midlands Engine Minister, 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.
Chairman of Midlands Engine, Sir John Peace, said,
“The Midlands is a natural partner to China. We are home to cutting edge research facilities, world renowned brands and expertise in sectors which complement the next stage of China’s incredible growth story.
At a time when the UK must become more outward looking and form new relationships with international partners for trade and investment, we have a fantastic opportunity to generate targeted and sustainable growth from relationships with China.
Welcome to the UK’s Midlands Engine
Keen to build on the 67 investment projects from Chinese companies into the Midlands from 2011 to 2016, creating over 6,000 new and safeguarded jobs, the Communities Secretary and Sir John also launched a ‘Welcome to the UK’s Midlands Engine’ document, setting out the strengths of the Midlands Engine and partners’ desire for closer links with China.
This followed the Midlands Engine Partnership, a partnership of local and combined authorities, Local Enterprise Partnerships, universities and leading businesses. identifying seven sectors in which the region has world class expertise and in which there is the strongest potential for increased trade and investment with China:
- new energy and energy saving
- next generation transport (new energy vehicles, automotive parts, aerospace equipment)
- biopharmaceuticals and medical technology
- food processing and innovation
- advanced manufacturing and engineering
- high-quality consumer goods
- investment opportunities in UK infrastructure.
Sir John Peace added:
“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. With a wealth of rich and diverse capabilities, the Midlands is well placed to meet growing demand from China for the very technologies, goods and services that we specialise in.”