Birmingham’s car manufacturing industry received a huge boost when China’s Premier Wen Jiabao visited the MG plant in Longbridge on Sunday.
Mr. Wen launched the new MG6 Magnette model at the factory owned by the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation – one of his country’s most high-profile British investments.
Business leaders said the decision to begin the historic UK trip at the Birmingham plant – the only business he will visit during the stay – was symbolic of the interest in the region’s economy.
Diplomats say China and Britain are expected to announce over one billion pounds’ worth of deals during his three-day visit in a range of industries.
Mr. Wen, who will meet Prime Minister David Cameron for talks today, said: ‘The successful co-operation of the production of the MG6 and other MG vehicles is a symbol of the friendship between China and the UK.
‘The co-operation model can be summed up as designed in the UK, manufactured in China and assembled in the UK. Through this process we have been able to make the most of China’s capital and markets, as well as the UK’s technology and managerial expertise.’
The successful co-operation of the production of the MG6 and other MG vehicles is a symbol of the friendship between China and the UK. The co-operation model can be summed up as designed in the UK, manufactured in China and assembled in the UK. Through this process we have been able to make the most of China’s capital and markets, as well as the UK’s technology and managerial expertise.” Wen Jiabao, Chinese Premier speaking at MG Birmingham
The Chinese Premier said businesses would make more use of the corporation model – using British design, Chinese manufacturing and assembly by UK workers. He also gave assurances to British business that there would be greater opportunities to sell more into China, adding there would be conditions to help.
‘I believe the corporation model will not only help to generate local opportunities for jobs, but also help us address the trade imbalance. What I hope to see is that the two countries will open each others market to prospective countries.
‘I think in future more Chinese investment should fit the local needs of the British side to be more specific. You may know China has strengths in manufacturing and infrastructure development. When we enjoy each other’s strengths, we will enjoy brighter prospects in our co-operation.’
* About ten human rights protesters gathered outside the Longbridge factory gates as Wen Jiabao arrived. They included yellow-shirted supporters of the Falungong spiritual movement, which is banned in China.
The demonstrators waved placards and denounced China’s human rights record throughout the visit. Protestor Tilly Nesbitt said: ‘The last Chinese leader banned Falungong in 1999. We want this leader to make the decision to stop persecution.’ Banners read: ‘Cameron and Wen. Human rights before trade.’
[Source: Birmingham Post]
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