Northern Ireland has been selected to host the 2017 UK-China Regional Leaders Summit in December of this year.
David Sterling, Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service said: “Securing this prestigious event is the result of our deeply valued and mutually beneficial relationship with China. The successful bid will bring to Northern Ireland over 30 Chinese Provincial and municipal leaders who will meet with a wide range of our government representatives, academia and businesses to build connections and enable them to identify strategic areas for information exchange and economic outcomes.
“Our government Departments and Invest NI will be working with universities, businesses and councils in the planning and delivery of this summit so that the Chinese Regional leaders leave knowing we are open for business, and looking forward to a long term, productive relationship with them and their regions.”
Tim Losty, Director of the Northern Ireland Bureau in China said: “Northern Ireland may be small in scale compared to China but securing this summit signals we share their global drive and ambition. The mission of the Bureau in China is to strengthen the relationship with the Government and People of China and to identify projects that will be of mutual and practical benefit. The summit will create the circumstances and conditions for those relationships to form and develop to the benefit of both China and the people of Northern Ireland.
“This announcement today affords Northern Ireland a unique platform to exchange ideas, identify and explore opportunities for collaboration on projects aimed at developing knowledge based and service sector industries in relevant sectors including FinTech, cyber security, life and health sciences, creative industries and agri food.
“Given the size of China we have been encouraged by the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship and Foreign Countries to work with the North East regions of China as well as Hubei and Shanghai. Hosting the Summit in Northern Ireland provides the stage to share our best practice and progress to date with the North East regions in rebalancing the economy. I look forward to working with all Governments, Departments, District Council and agencies to make this summit a successful one.”
Alastair Hamilton, Chief Executive of Invest Northern Ireland said: “Alongside the prestigious municipal leaders, we look forward to welcoming representatives from Chinese businesses in key sectors where there are opportunities to share our expertise and for our universities and businesses to develop or progress mutually beneficial relationships."
The proposal to bring the Summit to Northern Ireland was submitted by the Executive Office’s Bureau in Beijing and was approved by the Executive in November 2016.
Notes to editors:
1. This is the third UK- China Regional leaders Summit since it was agreed between David Cameron and President Xi Jinping since his visit to London in 2015. The first Summit was held in the UK with the Northern Powerhouse region and second in Shanghai with the Midlands Engine City cluster. The selection of the region is based on the submission of a bid to the FCO and requires agreement from the Chinese Government’s Friendship Association.
2. The Northern Ireland Bureau China, first bid to host the Summit was in February this year and it was supported by both governments and recognised the Bureau’s work in developing constructive relations with the provinces of Liaoning and Hubei and their cities over the last three years.
3. Given the period of time the Northern Ireland Executive has been operational in China this is a significant achievement and demonstrates support for the Executives strategy for working with regions.
4. Media enquiries to The Executive Office Press Office on 028 9037 8201. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number on 07623 974 383 and your call will be returned.