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Medway seeks opportunities in China

Date: 22/01/2008           Category: Economic Development

Businesses, students and sportspeople in Medway could reap the rewards of an official visit to the Chinese city of Foshan by a delegation led by Mayor of Medway Cllr Val Goulden on 17 February. The group will include representatives from the council’s Economic Development, and Education and Sports Development teams. Delegates from Mid-Kent College, Medway Renaissance and Thames Gateway (Kent) Chamber of Commerce, will also be making the trip. They will be seeking to bring Medway and Foshan closer together through stronger commercial, education and sporting links between the two communities. The Mayor and her Escort, Cllr Tony Goulden, hope to further develop the friendship between Medway and Foshan that has built up over the last six years, mostly through the Medway Dragon and Lion Dance Association. They will be visiting schools and sports facilities, as well as investigating the opportunity of establishing student exchanges between Medway and Foshan. Portfolio Holder for Economic Development and Strategic Growth Cllr Jane Chitty will lead The Economic Development Team with Tracey Manley, Chief Executive of The North Kent Chamber of Commerce. They will be visiting a number of companies in the area specialising in ceramics, electronics and printing to explore potential partnerships with precision engineering companies in Medway. The Education, Culture and Sports Development Team will be led by Cllr Les Wicks, Portfolio Holder for Education & Children’s Services. He will be joined by Christina Wells, Director of Education at Mid Kent College, who will also represent The University of Kent. Visits will include the University of Foshan, to discuss educational exchanges and links between universities and schools, and The Foshan Academy of Language and Sport. They will also discuss the potential for The Medway Lion Dance Team to take part in the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Future opportunities for working with the Foshan team in Medway are also on the agenda, as well as a visit the newly-built Foshan sports stadium. There will also be a meeting with the British Consulate from Guangzhou to discuss assisting with economic development, educational and sporting links between Medway and Foshan. Cllr Goulden said: “Medway could benefit immensely from this visit if the hoped-for business, academic and sporting connections come to fruition. We could see increased commercial opportunities for Medway companies, a great chance for our students to learn from their Chinese counterparts, and even an opportunity to take part in Olympics ceremonies. The possibilities are tremendously exciting.” Cllr Chitty added: “I’m looking forward to identifying commercial opportunities for our businesses in China, especially in ceramics and electronics, which are Foshan’s biggest industrial sectors. These international links can prove invaluable, especially in a global marketplace in which China is playing an increasingly important role.” The visit is in response to an invitation to the Mayor and Cllr Chitty from a Foshan delegation during their visit to Medway in September 2007. It was organised by Medway Council’s International Relations Committee. More details of the committee’s activities are on the council website www.medway.gov.uk [end]