David Pearson at the World Manufacturing Convention 2019

Supporting the partnership between D2 and Anhui Province

The Chamber’s Director of Partnerships, David Pearson, recently travelled to China on a trade mission aimed at supporting the international trade ambitions of the Chamber’s partners in Derby and Derbyshire (D2). Here, David writes for Business Network about what proved to be a highly successful trip.

There have been some fantastic developments since I last came out to China two years ago. But first, here is a bit of background. A strong relationship is already

established between Derby and Hefei, the capital city of the Anhui Province, and likewise between Derbyshire and Anhui. Hefei was hosting the World Manufacturing Convention (WMC), inviting Derby City and Derbyshire County Councils, along with a range of local businesses. The Chamber was invited to support our Derby and Derbyshire partners (colloquially known as D2), to help encourage more engagement between Hefei and Anhui businesses trading in D2, and vice-versa. With the UK being the Country

of Honour at the convention, it became a nationally-supported event and was executed on a huge scale. This meant that apart from having greater Chinese interest we also had UK Government support with Nadim Zahawi MP, the Minister for Business and Industry, joining us on the trip. D2 had a significant presence

within the UK pavilion, including its own stand at the event. There was a huge range of Chinese businesses at the WMC. Some of the more bizarre were fully automated and interactive toilet seats; and a huge operational production line churning out babies nappies.

48 business network November 2019 We jumped from site visits, to

receptions, to extravaganzas as the week progressed. The delegation visited some brilliant Chinese organisations, covering a range of public and private sectors, from manufacturing, snack confectionary and media, to vocational education and tourism. These all brought about great opportunities for our D2 partners; with Chinese interest in establishing a physical presence in Derbyshire specifically, as well numerous positive discussions about entering into the UK market. A particularly strong

collaborative development was made between the Anhui Province and Derbyshire colleges, centred on bringing Anhui teaching staff into the county for a visit and to participate in a commercial training programme; with the potential for the Chamber to have an involvement in this initiative. The meeting was also a great chance for the Chamber to promote its important Education and Business Partnership work. As well as attending the WMC,

there were other fantastic events on offer. The UK-China Extravaganza was extremely impressive, it definitely lived up to its name! The 500-delegate event had been organised by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and was a magnificent evening, mixing British informality

and entertainment with Chinese customs – a real boost to the UK’s reputation. The trip came to a close with a

D2 Reception, which was well- attended by senior staff from the FCO as well as 170 Chinese guests, with the Guest of Honour being Anhui’s Vice-Governor, Mr Deng. As expected, the event led to

further interesting and encouraging discussions, including me having the opportunity to meet with the Chairman of the Anhui China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT). It was great to see so much

success come from a relatively short expedition to China, not just for myself or the Chamber, but also for the Derby City and County

Councils and the D2 businesses present. The trip was a great example of the public and private sector working together across boundaries. The Chamber’s involvement was

incredibly well received, with the D2 businesses in attendance pleased to see the Chamber supporting their efforts. A number of discussions circulated regarding international trade and how we can help them further through our award-winning International Trade department. The effort extended by both

parties is a true demonstration of Anhui’s and D2’s commitment to the partnership and it is looking likely that there are more exciting things to come in the future.

So what has come of the trip? Here are a few key points to take away from David’s China expedition…

• A stronger, growing relationship between D2 and Hefei City and Anhui Province

• Multiple opportunities for public and private partnerships to establish across the regions

• Tangible import and export opportunities • A boost to the UK’s reputation in China

• An opportunity for the Chamber to enhance its international support to businesses

• A follow up expedition, with Laura Howard, the Chamber’s Head of International Trade, embarking on a similar trip to the Sichuan Province, which partners with the Leicestershire region.

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