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Greg Clark chairs Sheffield summit to ‘flog’ the North to China

A senior Government minister has taken part in an historic summit to ‘sell’ the Northern Powerhouse to regional leaders from China.

The summit, held in Sheffield earlier this week and said to be the first of its kind on UK soil, was chaired by communities secretary Greg Clark. The purpose of this gathering was to highlight investment opportunities available to the senior delegation across the North of England and to promote stronger UK-China regional collaboration.

The Northern Powerhouse represents almost a fifth of the UK economy. Ministers want to build on this and therefore are supporting local leaders from the great northern cities to engage with international partners and attract inward investment.

To this end, Clark and ministers from several Whitehall departments met with leaders from Chinese regional government along the Yangtze regional economic belt.

The Chinese delegation headed to Sheffield for a series of discussions with their UK counterparts from across the Northern Powerhouse about the opportunities for collaboration and investment.

The official delegation heard from UK experts on sustainability, integrated transport planning, primary healthcare and the creative industries.

“The UK is already Europe’s second largest exporter of goods and services to China – this week offered the chance to build on that success,” said Clark. “The UK-China Regional Leaders Summit will take senior Chinese regional leaders out of London to see for themselves the wealth of expertise and experience that businesses and local government across the Northern Powerhouse have to offer. I am delighted to have welcomed this delegation, led by Madame Li Xiaolin. I now look forward to seeing how regional leaders from the UK and China can work closer together.”

Northern Powerhouse minister James Wharton added: “The Northern Powerhouse was the birthplace of industrial revolution and today is still home to world renowned brands, ambitious businesses and cutting edge research. By working together to promote the north of England we can remind the world how much it has to offer and today was an important milestone in that journey.”

Commercial Secretary to the Treasury Lord O’Neill said: “This summit is another significant step forward in a new golden era between the UK and China. Better connecting our great northern cities is at the heart of our plans to build a Northern Powerhouse, and we can learn a great deal from the work China has done to promote its own city clusters. Chinese leaders are embracing the opportunities to deepen our ties even further, and play a crucial role to help make our northern cities stronger than the sum of their parts‎.”

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