International Trade

Sajid Javid hopes to rev up £222bn Midlands Engine with investment from China

3 min read

26 February 2016

Former deputy editor

Business secretary Sajid Javid is overseeing a visit from the Chinese minister of commerce to build investment in the Midlands, which is worth £222bn to the UK economy each year.

While George Osborne’s Northern Powerhouse continues to grab headlines, and cause confusion among two-thirds of Brits, business secretary Sajid Javid wants to fire up the Midlands Engine.

Javid is currently in talks with with the Chinese minister of commerce Gao Hucheng, who is visiting the UK to explore the enterprises found in the Midlands. As it stands, Britain is the second largest EU exporter to China and Javid hopes to develop cooperation further.

“Today’s visit by Chinese minister of commerce Gao Hucheng to Birmingham was a great opportunity to showcase the Midlands as an engine for growth and investment,” Javid said.

“The UK is the leading destination for Chinese businesses bringing economic and jobs benefits not only to the Midlands but to the UK as a whole.”

The government noted that the Midlands Engine is worth some £222bn to the UK economy each year. The region could generate 300,000 jobs and boost the country’s economy by £34bn if it matches the predicted UK growth rate over the next 15 years.

The area has grown faster than the UK average since 2010 and has already created more than 300,000 jobs in that time.

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Elsewhere, trade and investment minister Francis Maude has provided assistance to guide Hucheng around the HS2 development at Curzon Street in Birmingham.

“The Midlands is home to some of the most innovative and exciting companies and universities in the country, and we are keen to get more investment into the region to boost jobs and growth for the Midlands Engine,” said Maude.

Business contracts to be signed include:

• Introducing House of Fraser and Hamleys department stores into Xuzhou Sanpower Plaza Complex Project in China.

• Developing the Sino-UK cultural and creative industrial park to enhance cooperation between China and the UK for creative projects.

• Nottingham and sister city of Ningbo in China signing a five-year deal to become the first UK and Chinese authorities to develop closer trade and civic ties. The move would support Midlands companies to forge trade and export opportunities in China.

Sajid Javid is also on a crusade to investigate poor internet speeds that UK businesses are suffering from, following Ofcom’s revelation of a “speeds gap”.

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