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China's commerce minister shown Birmingham regeneration sites in investment-boosting visit

Gao Hucheng will lead a delegation to the city, with ministers hoping to stimulate investment in the region

Chinese Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng with Birmingham City Council leader John Clancy
Chinese Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng with Birmingham City Council leader John Clancy

One of China’s most powerful men is in Birmingham today for key talks with the Business Secretary.

Chinese Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng will oversee the signing of commercial UK-China contracts and hold talks with Sajid Javid, who also fronts the “Midlands Engine” plan to boost investment in the region.

The visit will include a tour around the Curzon Street area, which is a vital regeneration hub for Birmingham.

The UK attracts up to a third of all Chinese investment into Europe over the past two years and the Business Secretary will use the visit to highlight the investment opportunity in the Midlands.

Sajid Javid, Conservative MP for Bromsgrove, said:“Today’s visit by Chinese Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng to Birmingham was a great opportunity to showcase the Midlands as an engine for growth and investment.

“The UK is the leading destination for Chinese businesses bringing economic and jobs benefits not only to the Midlands but to the UK as a whole.”

The 25-year Masterplan for Curzon Street and Birmingham city centre

The meetings are part of the UK-China 12th Joint Economic and Trade Commission (JETC) to boost cooperation and understanding between the two countries.

UK Trade and Investment Minister Lord Maude will also meet with the Chinese Minister and his delegation to show them the site of the HS2 development in Curzon Street.

Lord Maude said: “The Midlands is home to some of the most innovative and exciting companies and universities in the country, and we are keen to get more investment into the region to boost jobs and growth for the Midlands Engine.”

The Midlands Engine is worth £222 billion each year to the UK economy and if the region matches the predicted growth rate for the UK over the next 15 years, it could create 300,000 jobs and boost the national economy by £34 billion.

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