A high-level delegation of London-based Chinese business and media groups met with the Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council and city stakeholders during a visit to Derry this week, to build on the strong working relationship that exists between the City and District and China.

The visit, led by the Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Belfast, Mme Meifang Zhang, included a briefing by the Council Chief Executive John Kelpie, a tour of the Guildhall and a walk on the historic City Walls. Delegates were invited to a business networking dinner event that was attended by representatives from the Chamber of Commerce, Visit Derry and other key business, education and tourism stakeholders.

The visit is part of a three-day programme of engagements in NI coordinated by The Executive Office in conjunction with NI Chinese Consulate, Councils, UU, QUB and key government agencies.

Welcoming the delegation to the City and District, the Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Michaela Boyle, said it was a huge privilege to meet with the group and to further develop the strong working relationship between the Council and China. The Council is delighted to be working with the Chamber and Visit Derry to maximise the opportunity for our local businesses to connect with such a significant delegation.

She said: “Derry City and Strabane District Council has an existing agreement with Dalian, Liaoning Province and today’s meeting was a fantastic opportunity to further develop and promote the economic benefit and cooperation with the North East of China.

“As a region we have many shared interests with China, particularly in terms of tourism, business, technology and education, which has resulted in a Friendly Co-operative City Agreement which Council signed last year to formally acknowledge this strong working relationship.

“Links with China and the East are hugely important in assisting us expand our business, tourism and education connections, in tandem with the ongoing work to develop partnerships in the US. These international networks will be pivotal in raising the profile of the region in keeping with the ambitions set out in our Strategic Growth Plan, and encourage foreign direct investment interest in our vibrant and dynamic region.”

She said today’s meeting was significantly important in building on the very strong working relationship that exists between the city and district and China. She said she was very impressed with the calibre of delegates and the wide range of representatives from across the business and media sector in attendance.

She added: “It was a huge honour for us to host this delegation and build on the ongoing collaborations we have with China and the work we are doing with Dalian City. These type of engagements are hugely important to yield new opportunities for trade and investment and in developing global business and education connections.”

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