Business leaders and MPs have hit out at the Government's decision to prevent the Chinese president visiting Birmingham - labelling it a "missed opportunity".
Chancellor George Osborne intervened to ensure President Xi Jinping instead visited Manchester, the heart of the Chancellor's pet Northern Powerhouse project.
Mr Xi's four-day state visit is seen as an opportunity to secure further trade deals and investment from China, the world's second-largest economy.
Birmingham had been pushing for Mr Xi to come to the city - and the Chinese themselves wanted the visit to take place, it has emerged.
The Chancellor's intervention was raised with the Prime Minister's spokesman, who simply stated the itinerary had been agreed between the British Government and Chinese delegation.
Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce pointed out the West Midlands had an export surplus with China of £2.76 billion.
Chief executive Paul Faulkner said: "We are told the Chinese themselves wanted to visit the city and this made absolute sense given the huge investment they already have here in the 'Midlands Engine'.
"They are predicted to be investing heavily in rail and infrastructure projects in the West Midlands and, of course, they are in line for HS2 contracts.
"The West Midlands exports £5.3 billion worth of goods to China, compared to a UK deficit of £20 billion.
"This is largely based on a Far East love affair with Jaguars, Land Rovers and JCBs, so what better place for the Chinese leader and his party to visit than the West Midlands?
"We feel they have missed a great opportunity to further strengthen links between the West Midlands and China."
MPs also condemned the decision.
Birmingham MP Jack Dromey (Lab Erdington) said: "The Chinese President was happy to come from Beijing to Birmingham.
"Brummies in the business community will be dismayed that George Osborne diverted him to Manchester. The Chancellor is wrong to snub Britain's second city."
Liam Byrne (Lab Hodge Hill) said: "I don't know why George Osborne's got it in for Birmingham.
"We are leading the way by 'turning east' - the West Midlands is the only region that boasts an export surplus to China so I am sure President Xi would have liked to celebrate the brilliant partnership we've got in place.
"But visit or no visit, we will do what we always do best: getting on with the job - and delivering the results."
Those lobbying for the state visit to spend time in Birmingham included senior councillors and officials, John Lewis managing director Andy Street, who chairs business organisation the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, and Sajid Javid, the Business Secretary and MP for Bromsgrove.
The plan was to use the visit to announce that Chinese manufacturer Changan Automobile is to create hundreds of jobs by relocating its UK operations to Birmingham Business Park.
Announcements about Chinese investment in rail and infrastructure were also planned.
When it became clear that Birmingham was to be excluded, the decision was taken to make this announcement in advance of the visit.
China is also set to build the HS2 high-speed rail line, which will initially run between London and Birmingham, after Mr Osborne last month invited Chinese firms to bid for contracts.
But, even though the £50 billion line has its headquarters in Birmingham, the city will not be included in the state visit.
Mr Xi followed an itinerary drawn up by the UK Government which is standard practice with all visits by foreign leaders. He is due to fly to Manchester this evening and stay there overnight.
Tomorrow, he is expected to have lunch at Manchester Town Hall, attended by local council and business leaders.
He will also visit the University of Manchester, accompanied by Mr Osborne, and Manchester City's stadium, with Prime Minister David Cameron.
The Government has made Manchester the heart of its flagship Northern Powerhouse policy which is designed to boost the economy in the north of England.
Ministers say the state visit will see more than £30 billion worth of trade and investment deals completed, creating over 3,900 jobs across the UK.
Asked why the Chancellor had insisted the Chinese delegation visit Manchester rather than Birmingham, a Treasury spokesman referred us to Number 10 press office.
A Number 10 spokesman said: "The details of the visit were agreed between the Chinese and us and there is no reason for us to comment further."
A government minister has boasted that Chancellor George Osborne is only willing to provide funding for schemes in the north of England.
James Wharton, the minister responsible for the Government's Northern Powerhouse project, made the claim at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester.
He told a fringe event at the conference ministers in every department of the Government had realised the only way they could get support for their projects was to link them to the Northern Powerhouse.
He said: "If you go to the Treasury with a plan at the moment and it costs money, you have quite a challenge making your case successfully.
"For reasons we are all familiar with, these are difficult times financially as we try to put right the financial mess we inherited way back in 2010.
"If you go with a Northern Powerhouse aspect to your proposal, you perhaps have that little bit extra chance to make your case.
"There is perhaps a slightly wider space in which you can explain why this project matters and why it should be facilitated."
He continued: "That may sound like a small thing but, to anyone who knows how government works, it's a huge thing. Because politics is about having the will to deliver things.
"Things that are driven because people believe in them are more likely to be successful. And have no doubt, this is a government that believes in the Northern Powerhouse."