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China and UK plan to deepen industry ties

16 May 2011

Some of the most senior figures in the Chinese aerospace and automotive industry have visited the UK to deepen business ties between China and the UK. More than 120 British companies attended the UK-China Business Exchange event, sponsored by Jaguar Land Rover, at the Heritage Motor Centre in Gaydon, Warwickshire. Business Ambassador and chief executive of GKN, Sir Kevin Smith, and the chief executive of the Technology Strategy Board, Iain Gray, gave keynote speeches at the event.

The Chinese delegation also met officials from UK Trade & Investment, the government’s international business development department, as well as representatives from UK companies to discuss doing business in the Chinese aerospace industry. The talks were aimed at building on the strong bilateral trade links between the aerospace and automotive industries.

Whilst the meeting in Bristol focused on aerospace, a separate meeting in London concentrated on building successful links in the automotive sector.

Chinese investment in the British automotive sector is already growing with Changan’s research and development facility in Nottingham while MG, which recently restarted production, is owned by SAIC.

The UK aerospace sector is regarded as a world leader in composite technologies. British companies are also developing greener and more fuel-efficient engines, expertise that the Chinese are keen to learn from.

Susan Haird, acting Chief Executive of UK Trade & Investment, said: “British advanced engineering has a fantastic reputation in China. The visit to the UK by such a senior group of industry figures is proof of the high regard the Chinese have for British advanced engineering skills and products."

It has been estimated that China will need as many as 2,800 new passenger aircraft and freighters between now and 2026. Chinese aerospace company Comac intends to build the C919, designed to challenge Boeing and Airbus. Representatives of the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China were among the delegates visiting the UK.

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