Nottingham and Ningbo deal signals ‘golden era’

Ningbo deal could be worth £200m

The first Five Year Plan between UK and Chinese cities has been signed, sealing an agreement which Council chiefs say will help to establish Nottingham as a gateway to China for the UK.

Chief executive of Nottingham City Council Ian Curryer and vice mayor Wang of Ningbo signed the deal in Ningbo on Thursday 21 April.

It aims to promote economic development in both cities with a target of 500 more jobs in the UK and a potential pipeline of investment projects in Nottingham worth £200m.

The move builds on the work of the University of Nottingham, which established a China Campus in Ningbo over a decade ago, and follows discussions earlier this year at a UK and China Government-to-Government conference hosted by Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Sajid Javid MP.

Nottingham aims to become the UK’s most China friendly city and both the UK and Chinese Governments say they see Nottingham and Ningbo as leading the way in joint city-to-city working, with the Chinese Government keen to hold the close relationship between the two cities as a shining example it wants other Chinese cities to replicate.

The Five Year Plan maps out key objectives for the next five years focusing on four key sectors – trade and investment, education, culture/sport and civic – with a view to helping more businesses, citizens and schools access opportunities in the sister cities.

The deal also involves Ningbo agreeing to pay £150,000 to help establish a Nottingham-Ningbo Trade and Investment Office in Ningbo that Nottingham City Council will operate, with the purpose of seeking investment from China into Nottingham.

Curryer, who is in China leading a trade and investment mission with seven Nottingham-based businesses, said: “We have established firm bonds with Ningbo for over a decade and this plan formalises, strengthens and focuses those bonds for the benefit of both cities.

“It underlines Nottingham’s position at the forefront of UK-China relations and shows that despite the difference in size between the cities, Nottingham can see tangible benefits from its links with Ningbo – and clearly the feeling is mutual.”

Vice mayor Wang of Ningbo Municipal Government said: “The first Five Year Plan between Nottingham and Ningbo is the first cooperative plan not only between the UK and China but between China and anywhere else in the world.

“It identifies the direction for further cooperation in economics, education, culture, and so on.

“It will enrich the cooperation between UK and China at the beginning of the ‘golden era’. I believe that the relationship will definitely get enhanced and become even stronger and ultimately benefits the citizens from both Ningbo and Nottingham.”

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