Three-day forum aims to attract inward investment and increase connectivity

The British city of Birmingham will host representatives from businesses, universities, and government during a forum aimed at forging closer relations between China and the United Kingdom.

The Fifth UK-China Regional Leaders Summit has been described as “the most significant gathering of its kind ever held in the UK” and will give the two nations an opportunity to strengthen cultural and economic links.

The three-day event was organized by Midlands Engine, which is made up of local authorities and local enterprise partnerships from the East and West Midlands, and aims to boost productivity, attract inward investment, and increase connectivity.

John Peace, chairman of Midlands Engine, said: “The summit is a once-in-a-decade opportunity for us to continue forging a ‘golden era’ for our two nations, and to build on the cultural and economic links which already exist for the powerful benefit of both countries. With deepening friendships, important civic connections, and the bonds between our economies growing faster than ever, the summit will offer our gathered community the chance to make new connections and friendships.”

During the event, which takes place Feb 17 to 19, delegates will be given the opportunity to visit towns, cities, and communities in the Midlands.

The gathering will focus on “the UK and China working together to address global challenges” and highlight opportunities for even greater collaboration between the nations.

Robert Jenrick, local government secretary and Midlands Engine ministerial champion, said: “From green energy to health technology, the Midlands leads the world in tackling some of the biggest global challenges of our time, so Birmingham is a fitting location for this landmark summit which will showcase the very best of the region and strengthen valuable ties between China and the UK.”

Cultural collaborations will also be highlighted during the gathering in partnership with the Birmingham Chinese Community Association, Birmingham City University, and the University of Nottingham. The program will feature art, music, and performances.

“The Midlands has many cultural links with China and so I am honored to be putting together a program that celebrates the art, performance, and musical heritage of our two countries,” said Birmingham-based Chinese classical pianist Xiao Di, who is curator of the event’s cultural program.

Xiao said the cultural program will convey “the deeper understanding and mutual prosperity possible through greater cross-cultural collaboration”.

In 2018, exports to China from the Midlands totaled 3.9 billion pounds ($5.1 billion), according to Midlands Engine. China is the region’s fourth-biggest export market, behind the USA, Germany, and France.

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