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Landmark Notts – Zhejiang agreement paves way for trade and jobs boost

Nottinghamshire County Council has agreed an historic and exciting new partnership with the Zhejiang Province of China to promote trade, investment cultural and policy links between the two areas.

It is hoped that the new collaboration will bring significant economic benefits for Nottinghamshire, including the opening of potentially lucrative markets in China for the area’s businesses, as well as inward investment and job creation in Nottinghamshire by firms from Zhejiang Province.

Senior government officials from Zhejiang visited Nottinghamshire for the first time last week to sign the formal Friendship Agreement.

Vice Governor of Zhejiang, Madame Liang Liming and the Chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council, Councillor Yvonne Woodhead signed the historic agreement on behalf of their respective areas at an event attended by key partners and stakeholders from across the county, including the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire, Richard Bullock and High Sherriff, David Sneath.

The Zhejiag delegation also visited Nottingham University, hosted by Sir John Peace, to learn about the role of the Midlands Engine and visited the Welbeck Estate in Worksop to see a thriving local business at work.

The signing of the agreement commits both areas to carry out exchanges and co-operate in the fields of:

  • Economy
  • Trade and investment
  • Education
  • Science, Health and Technology
  • Tourism and culture

This follows a Midlands Engine Trade Mission to China in September last year, which included two representatives from Nottinghamshire County Council. During the visit, the Governor of the province indicated his personal support to develop links.

Anthony May, Chief Executive of Nottinghamshire County Council and one of the County Council representatives who met Zhejiang leaders in China, said: “This is the beginning of what we hope will be a long, and mutually prosperous relationship between the people, organisations and businesses of Zhejiang and Nottinghamshire.

“The existing links between Nottingham City Council, the University of Nottingham and Ningbo – the second city of the Zhejiang Province – were critical in raising our profile in Zhejiang and in enabling us to arrange the visit and the formal Friendship Agreement. We are very grateful to the City Council and University in helping to facilitate that.

“Our friends from Zhejiang are extremely keen to tap into our knowledge and experiences in reshaping the local economy and the public and private sector’s response to the decline of traditional industries, such as coal mining and textiles.

“We are extremely excited about the possibilities and opportunities this relationship can bring to Nottinghamshire in terms of trade, growth and jobs.”

The Zhejiang Province is on the east coast of China, just to the south of Shanghai. The capital, Hangzhou is considered one of China’s leading cities for innovation and technology, as well as being a world leading hub for logistics and has one of the world’s largest ports.

It is rated as one of China’s top ranking provinces and hosted the G20 summit of world leaders in 2016. The current President of China, Xi Jinping was previously Party Secretary of Zhejiang.

Three of the province’s cities are ranked in the top 20 fastest growing cities in the world but it is also home to extensive areas of agricultural land.

Key facts about Zhejiang:

  • Geographical size – 101,800km, equivilent to Scotland and Wales combined
  • Population – 56m, similar to the entire population of England
  • GDP – $700bn, ranking it between Switzerland and Turkey
  • Home to 70 universities

To help further develop the collaboration, Nottinghamshire County Council is now working with the China Council for the Promotion and Investment and Trade (CCPIT) and the China Britain Business Council (CBBC) on an event to be hosted in Nottinghamshire later this year.

The event will see up to 60 Chinese businesses visiting the area with the objective of increasing business to business trading with companies in the region.

The County Council would like to hear from any businesses already trading or considering trading with China who are interested in fiding out more about the conference or wider initiative.

The County Council is also sponsoring a free CBBC Chinese Business Culture Masterclass for Nottinghamshire businesses, to be held at Newark Beacon on 15 May. Further information is available from https://portal.cbbc.org/civicrm/event/info?reset=1&id=1721