Chinese Delegation visit a thriving Somerset

A top level delegation of Chinese business officials visited Somerset last week.

At a time when partnerships between the UK and China are worth billions to the UK economy, Somerset continues to forge even closer links with the country.

The Chinese Minister Counsellor of Economic and Commercial Affairs, Mr. Jin Xu, led a commercial visit spending two days in Somerset on May 29th and 30th, as part of a wider tour of the South West.

Somerset County Council hosted the delegation’s visit to the county on Friday, 29th May, during which they met with local businesses keen to enter or further develop into the Chinese market.

Somerset Chamber of Commerce organised a round table discussion involving local firms, large and small. Sectors of interest to the delegation covered food and drink, energy and retail.

Neil Murphy, Chief Executive, Somerset Chamber of Commerce said:

“The Somerset Chamber of Commerce was delighted to take part in the visit of Mr. Jin Xu the Chinese Minister of Economic and Commercial Affairs and his delegation.

“China is a strategic target market for Somerset businesses and it was a welcome opportunity for us to showcase the diverse range of quality products and services we can provide.”

Stephen Phillips, Chief Executive of the China-Britain Business Council was also part of the seven strong delegation.  His organisation’s role is to help UK companies grow and develop their business in China. Their missions are to help UK companies of all sizes and sectors, access the full potential of the fastest growing market in the world.

Stephen Phillips said: “Trade and investment links between the UK and China are deepening and getting more sophisticated very quickly.  It is essential that local companies in places like Somerset understand the opportunities that are available to them through these links.

“That is why we visited Somerset, so that local companies can understand how they can we work us and how we can work with them, the visit was extremely beneficial for all.”

Councillor David Hall, Cabinet Member for Business, Inwards Investment and Policy Highways at Somerset County Council, hosted a dinner for the delegation on Friday May 29th at Dillington House, near Ilminster.

Councillor Hall, said: “We were delighted to welcome such an important delegation from China which will only strengthen already strong business relationships in Somerset.

“There are many aspirational local businesses in our county who already benefit from China being one of the most important developing business markets. However, we are keen to ensure even more Somerset businesses engage with China and benefit from the strong links that visits like this forge.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

Attached are photographs from the visit on Friday 29 May.

Photo 1: “A thriving visit to Somerset.”

Left to right: Mr XU Hongri, Third Secretary, Mr JIN Xu, Minister Councillor, David Hall, Cabinet Member for Business, Inwards Investment and Policy Highways at Somerset County Council, Stephen Phillips, Chief Executive, China-Britain Business Council

Photo 2: “Councillor David Hall proudly welcomes Mr JIN Xu.”

Photo 3: Group photo of the delegation – 3rd left Mr JIN Xu, Minister Councillor,  5th left, Cllr David Hall of Somerset County Council, 7th left, Stephen Phillips, Chief Executive of China-Britain Business Council and 8th left Alyn Jones, Strategic Manager at Somerset County Council with other members of the Delegation.

For further information, please contact the press office on 01823 355020 or email: pressoffice@somerset.gov.uk