Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP Chair, Andy Street was among the delegation who welcomed the Chinese Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng to Birmingham on Friday 26 February 2016.
Minister Gao attended a presentation by Mr Street on the strength of the local economy, the reasons for investing in the region and in particular the HS2 investment opportunities at Curzon in Birmingham and UK Central in Solihull.
The visit was part of the UK-China 12th Joint Economic and Trade Commission (JETC) to boost cooperation and understanding between the 2 countries.
Business Secretary Sajid Javid met with Minister Gao in Birmingham to oversee the signing of commercial UK-China contracts.
The West Midlands is the third largest exporting region in the UK, accounting for 10.3% of all British exports. It is the only UK region with a trade surplus with China which currently stands at over £1.7bn.
Business Secretary Sajid Javid said:
Today’s visit by Chinese Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng to Birmingham was a great opportunity to showcase the Midlands as an engine for growth and investment. The UK is the leading destination for Chinese businesses bringing economic and jobs benefits not only to the Midlands but to the UK as a whole.”
UK Trade and Investment Minister Lord Maude who also attended the presentation, said:
The Midlands is home to some of the most innovative and exciting companies and universities in the country, and we are keen to get more investment into the region to boost jobs and growth for the Midlands Engine.”
The Midlands Engine, encompassing the West and East Midlands, is worth £222 billion each year to the UK economy and if the region matches the predicted growth rate for the UK over the next 15 years, it could create 300,000 jobs and boost the national economy by £34 billion.