|Fu Ying Visited Birmingham|
During 24-26 June 2007, Ambassador Fu Ying visited Birmingham, inspected city Regeneration Projects and exchanged opinions with personalities of various circles on promoting cooperation between China and Birmingham. She met with Lord Mayor of Birmingham Randall Brew, Mayor Mike Whitby, Bishop David Urquhart and other personages, visited NEC Birmingham UK, Jaguar automobile company, Nanjing Automobile (Long Bridge) Group, Black Country Museum and University of Birmingham, etc.
Ambassador Fu Ying and leaders of Birmingham City, Left: Randall Brew, Right: Mike Whitby
Fu Ying presented Chinese economic development to business circles of Birmingham and indicated Chinese economy maintains the momentum of fast development, the focus of its foreign trade policy has changed from import and attracting foreign investment to export and foreign investment. Simultaneously, facing the challenges of city regeneration, industrial restructuring and environmental harness, many industrial cities in China are in earnest need of learning advanced technologies and successful experiences of other countries. All of the above create new opportunities to develop Sino-UK relations. With a strong industrial base, Birmingham has successfully achieved industrial restructuring and city regeneration in recent years, whose technologies and experiences can be used for reference. In view of many potentials in bilateral cooperation, she hoped the two parties would decide specific cooperation projects on city regeneration.
Fu Ying visited Jaguar automobile company Jaguar automobile production workshop
Randall Brew, Lord Mayor of Birmingham, expressed warm welcome to Fu's visit and excitement about the opportunities of cooperation. He said Birmingham is ready to strengthen the cooperation with China and hopes Chinese companies, such as Nanjing Automobile Group to invest in Britain. He expected the two sides may seize opportunity to improve mutual understanding and trust as well as explore more areas of cooperation.
Mayor Mike Whitby gave a banquet to welcome Fu Ying. Mayor Whitby presented the strategy and experience of Birmingham on city regeneration, indicating Birmingham, having a good geographical location and easy access to London, maintains traditional close ties with EU countries. Having achieved the transformation from traditional industries to new technology industries in recent years, Birmingham possesses superiority in pharmacy, environmental governance, engineering design, exhibition and software technology, and will invest 40 million pounds to improve the infrastructure.
Mayor Whitby emphasized Birmingham was looking forward to strengthening the cooperation with China; he hoped Chinese enterprises to invest in Birmingham then advance on into EU countries; he hoped to cooperate with Chinese enterprises on low-carbon energy study; he was ready to provide advices and technical support for environmental governance of Chinese industrial cities; he was willing to promote and support some events such as "Chinese Tea Culture Exhibition" in Birmingham under the frame of "China Now" next year; he hoped Chinese table tennis team will assemble in Birmingham for training before the Olympic Games 2008, and Chinese sports teams will take Birmingham as their training base for London Olympic Games in 2012.
Wang Hongbiao, Chairman of Nanjing Automobile Group introduced the experience of his company to acquire Rover Automobile Company. Fu Ying pointed out the experience of Nanjing Automobile Group's acquisition has important reference value for domestic companies' overseas investment and acquisition, meanwhile, she hoped Nanjing Automobile Group would study and understand the local situation and integrate into local society. Fu also recommended Nanjing Automobile Group provide scholarship for students from Birmingham to study in Nanjing so as to promote the exchanges between the young people of the two countries.
During her visit, Fu Ying was invited to attend the welcome luncheon held by Chinese communities in Birmingham. She encouraged the Chinese communities to strengthen unity, continue to support and care for China's development as well as participate in and support "China Now". The leaders of Chinese communities indicated they would work on community cohesions under the guidance of the Chinese embassy and will support the embassy's work.
Handiwork of seamless steel tube collected in Black Country Museum of Birmingham
Fu Ying is enjoying the handicrafts made by disabled children in Caffery School for the Handicapped
Fu Ying visited Caffery School for the Handicapped and presented Chinese folk music CDs
Birmingham is the birth place of origin of British industry, where James Watt invented the first steam engine in 1712, sounding the clarion call to the first industrial revolution. Rich in coal and iron resources, enormous manufacturing industry was established in Birmingham rapidly and reached its zenith in 19th century. In the 20th century, following the exhaustion of coal and iron resources and transformation of world industrial production, Birmingham was on the decline. Mining and steel industry phased out from the industrial history of Birmingham in 1980's, at that time the proportion of manufacturing industry was 40%, proportion of working population in this industry reached 50%, and the unemployment rate was as high as 25%. Thanks to the support of central government, with investment from UK government or private enterprises, Birmingham actively used or transformed the existing industrial base, explored a series of emerging industries such as pharmacy, tourism, shopping, conferences exhibition, software, engineering design and environmental harness, and completed some large-scale projects including NEC Birmingham UK, Bullring Shopping Center, Black Country Museum, canal transformation, thus realized its rejuvenation. At present, the manufacturing industry and working population of Birmingham have dropped to below 20%; the proportion of service sector rose to 40%, employing 80% of the working population, and the unemployment rate lowered to 12%. Now Birmingham is the second largest city in UK, whose industrial output value makes up 50% of that of UK. In the future, there will be huge potential in cooperation between China and Birmingham on city regeneration, industrial restructuring, environmental harness, low-carbon energy technology and auto manufacture, etc.