George Osborne officially launched the Manchester-China forum on Friday 26 April.
The Manchester-China Forum is a new business-led initiative aimed at increasing Greater Manchester’s commercial connectivity, including trade and investment with China.
With the third largest Chinese community in Europe, Manchester is in the unique position of already having a very strong relationship with what is Asia’s largest economy and the second largest in the world.
For further information on the structure of the forum, and to view videos taken from the day of the launch, visit the Manchester-China Forum website.
The Forum has been established to facilitate a business climate that enables companies in Greater Manchester to further develop relationships with China and to encourage more businesses to explore opportunities in the country.
The Forum builds on the recommendations set out in Lord Nat Wei’s Report ‘Growing East – A Strategy for Greater Manchester’s engagement with China’ published in July 2012.
Lord Wei’s report identified China as a strategic priority for Greater Manchester, with a strong potential for growth in trade, inward investment, tourism and education.
The main objectives of the Manchester-China Forum are:
• support the growth of Manchester’s exports to China by 2018;
• increase inward investment into Manchester from Chinese companies;
• grow inward tourism from Chinese visitors;
• increase Chinese student numbers in Greater Manchester’s educational institutions;
• increase student retention; and
• secure direct air routes between Manchester and China.
The Forum will leverage local and national assets in order to develop these areas.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne MP, said: “The Chinese community make a huge contribution to Manchester and to the United Kingdom. China continues to grow at a remarkable pace and I want to make the UK the first place Chinese companies think of when they come to do business in Europe. This means having the joint lowest corporation tax in the G20 by 2015, being the Western Hub for companies looking to access Renminbi products and services, and enhancing the visa offer for Chinese businesses.
“I’m proud of the strong Chinese community in Manchester, and proud of Manchester’s role as the gateway for Chinese business to the North of England. I strongly support the Manchester-China Forum and the ambition of Manchester Airports Group to provide a direct airline service between Manchester and China as the natural next step in developing these links.”
Lord Wei, said: “This forum highlights Manchester’s commitment to build real partnerships with counterparts in the East with great brands and businesses that are attractive to Chinese investors, a vibrant and sizeable Chinese community and strong sector strengths in media, environment and health – Manchester’s prospects for building strong partnerships in China are bright.”
Charlie Cornish, chief executive of the Manchester Airports Group (MAG) and chair of the Forum, said: “The forum will be business-focused and targeted specifically at the Greater Manchester region. The partners involved felt a need for local businesses to receive more focussed help so we will specifically identify Chinese sectors and regions with characteristics complementary to Manchester, and then devote our resources to building networks with them. More than £4 billion of business was struck between China and the North West of England last year and we want to build on that start and ensure a lasting legacy between our two countries.”