City Leader cements relations with China

By on 25/06/2010 in News

Council Leader, Mike Whitby, has held talks with the new Chinese Ambassador to Britain, cementing the special relationship that Birmingham has long enjoyed with the country.

This is the first official visit that Ambassador His Excellency Liu Xiaoming has paid to the West Midland Region since his arrival to the UK. The Ambassador chose to visit Birmingham because of the city's extremely strong links with China, and the cities of Guangzhou and Nanjing in particular.

Councillor Mike Whitby, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said:

“This was an extremely positive first meeting with the new Ambassador, who seemed very impressed with the warmth and friendliness of Birmingham as a global city, and also our clear strength as an ideal destination for investment.

“China is a major economic power, and we have long enjoyed a very close relationship with the outgoing Ambassador, Madam Fu, who was a true friend to our city as we secured major investment in Birmingham's automotive and engineering industries.

“Now with even more importance placed on strong international partners, we are looking to the future with the new ambassador, His Excellency Liu Xiaoming.”

There have previously been a number of reciprocal visits between the Council and China, the most recent of which was Councillor Whitby's trip in November 2008, when he visited both Shanghai and Beijing to meet with the Chinese Minster of Commerce, the President of Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) and other prominent business figures.

During his visit, Councillor Whitby addressed the SAIC board, governing the largest automotive company in China and one of the biggest in the world, to reaffirm their commitment to bringing jobs to Longbridge and making the ex-Rover plant SAIC's International R&D centre and European Headquarters.

SAIC own the former Rover site at Longbridge and are looking to make significant investment there over the coming years. They currently employ a number of skilled people at Longbridge building the new MG model.

His Excellency Liu Xiaoming visited the Council House, where he was first welcomed by the Lord Mayor, Councillor Len Gregory, and Lady Mayoress Mrs Gillian Gregory.

He then met Leader Councillor Mike Whitby, for a discussion that included a presentation of The Big City Plan.  Topics on the agenda included; Birmingham's wish to host China's Olympic Teams for their pre 2012, the new model MG6 launch in late 2010 and Higher Education opportunities for Chinese students at the city's Universities.

ENDS

For more information please contact Hayley Meachin on 0121 303 1271/ 07920 750007  hayley.meachin@birmingham.gov.uk

 

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