City set to roll out the red carpet to Chinese premier

MANCHESTER will be the last leg of Chinese President Xi Jinpin’s state visit to the UK this  week.

With Anglo-Chinese trade and investment firmly on the agenda of David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne, there will be high hopes in Downing Street, and regionally too, that there will be some exciting news for Greater Manchester and the North West.

On what will be the first state visit from the president of the world superpower to the UK in a decade, the president will arrive in London tonight, and after three nights as guest of the Queen at Buckingham Palace, will travel to Manchester on Thursday.

On Friday morning, the President, joined by Chancellor George Osborne, will visit the National Graphene Institute at the University of Manchester, where a major investment deal is expected to be announced.

After that, the Chinese delegation will be joined by David Cameron to visit the City Football Group, the parent company of Manchester City FC.

There will then be a lunch at Manchester Town Hall hosted by the Lord Mayor of the City of Manchester. Guests will include civic and business representatives.

In the afternoon, the President and Madame Peng, accompanied by the Prime Minister, will attend an event at Manchester Airport, where there could be an announcement regarding direct flights to the Chinese mainland – a prospect that has been in the pipeline for many months.

Manchester Council leader Sir Richard Leese said: “That this state visit is taking in Manchester is both a major honour and a sign of growing interest in the city in China itself, which I experienced myself on a recent trade delegation to this fascinating country.

“Manchester and China have long links with trading relations dating back more than 150 years and a sister city link with Wuhan established in the 1980s. We have a flourishing Chinese community, the third largest Chinatown in Europe and a growing number of Chinese students. Chinese investment in Manchester has also burgeoned in recent years.

“We look forward to welcoming the President and First Lady and building on these relationships.”