County flies flag for Derbyshire in China

6 November 2017

Our business and tourism representatives are in China this week to help showcase the county at the China International Industry Fair.

A delegation led by the UK Government and the Midlands Engine − a major partnership to boost the national economy by focusing on the Midlands as the UK's manufacturing heartland − is in Shanghai to forge links with Chinese governors and business.

Leader of Derbyshire County Council Councillor Barry Lewis and Councillor Tony King, cabinet member for economic development and regeneration, are among the delegation which also includes local business leaders, Derby City Council and University of Derby.

He said:

"It's vital that Derbyshire, as a key player in the Midlands Engine, has a role in securing international trade post-Brexit.

"China's interest in the UK is clearly growing and we want Derbyshire to be at the forefront of their thinking when it comes to overseas travel and investment in business and industry.

"International trade with Chinese businesses is initiated through government to government links so the county council has a major role to play in building relationships with Chinese Governors to show exactly what Derbyshire has to offer in terms of economic regeneration and tourism."

China is now the UK's seventh biggest export market and is growing rapidly. UK exports to China topped £10bn in the first half of 2017 − a 33% increase on the same period in 2016. And 20% of exports from the UK to China are from East Midlands' businesses.

Chinese investment in the UK more than doubled this year compared to last year. And the UK is currently ranked the top destination for Chinese tourists.

The two county councillors, who will be accompanied by two of our senior economy and regeneration officers, will also visit Hefei and Huangshan in Anhui Province during the second leg of the six-day trip.

They will travel to the Yellow Mountains National Park and meet Chinese government and tourism officials to forge links between the Yellow Mountains and the Peak District National Park.

And Councillor Lewis will also be guest of honour at the Huangshan International Tourism Festival.

Councillor Lewis added:

"China moved into the top 10 of Britain's most valuable inbound visitor market for the first time last year when visits from Chinese tourists reached a record-breaking 270,000. Currently, spend by these visitors is worth £586 million to the UK economy. We're pleased that Visit Britain has set a target to increase the value of spend to £1bn by 2020 and we want Derbyshire to tap into the market and encourage more visitors from China to travel to our great county."

The trip follows a visit to Derbyshire in September this year by delegates from the Huangshan Administrative Committee (HSAC), Municipal Affairs Foreign Affairs Office, Housing and Urban-Rural Development Commission, Economic Development Bureau of HSAC and Executive of Huangshan District.

A delegation from the Anhui Tourism Board is due to visit Derbyshire later this month.