Osborne praises new Manchester-China Forum

CHANCELLOR George Osborne has launched a new venture designed to build trade links and secure direct flights between Manchester and China.

The Manchester-China Forum is a new business-led initiative aimed at increasing Greater Manchester’s commercial connectivity with the world’s second-largest economy.

Mr Osborne 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.

“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.”

He said the creation of the Forum was a “clever and strategic move” by the city region, and a chance for businesses to tap into the world’s largest and fastest-growing market.

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 six main goals 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.

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 focused 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 £4bn 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.”

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