Portsmouth seeks 'strategic' trade links with China in the wake of Brexit
PORTSMOUTH will continue to look east in the wake of Brexit as plans have been set out to make 'exciting' trade and educational links with China.
Following a 'successful' trade mission with Bangladesh last year, the city council has partnered with the China Britain Business Council (CBBC) to explore business opportunities between the two nations.
The city already has links with China including a sister city agreement with Zhanjiang and a treaty of friendship with Zhuhai, however, a proposed five-year international project could result in a more 'strategic' relationship.
A conference hosted by the University of Portsmouth will be held on February 12 for businesses to find out more.
Councillor Steve Pitt, the council's culture and city development boss, said: 'Portsmouth Showcases the China Opportunity is a free conference for businesses in the area to find out more about the Chinese market.
'Following our successful trade mission to Bangladesh, we are planning a trade mission to China later this year, where we already have sister city links with Zhuhai and Zhanjiang.
'This mission will once again have a team Portsmouth approach to ensure relevant businesses and organisations across the city work together to promote the city as an investment opportunity, education and tourist destination.'
A report on the new five-year strategy, which will consider expanding links with current sister cities such as Maizuru in Japan and Sydney, will be discussed at a resources cabinet meeting next week.
In it the council's director of culture, leisure and regulatory services, Steven Baily, said: 'It is very much hoped that this strategy will provide the basis for more strategic discussions with each of the cities Portsmouth has a relationship with which will be especially welcomed with the current changing circumstances of a post Brexit country.'
For the deputy chairman of the Portsmouth Chinese Association, Renee Lu, the link was also a chance to expand on the educational ties with China. She said: 'The education side of it is an important part of the relationship.
'It will encourage more students to come from China. When we visited China we spoke to a lot of students who had come to Portsmouth. They had learnt good English and learnt about the culture. There are the same chances for students from here.
'It is very exciting.'
The conference will take place at the University House in Winston Churchill Avenue on Wednesday, February 12. To sign up visit cbbc.org/events.