Cllr Richard West, Chairman of Huntingdonshire District Council, and Cllr Ryan Fuller, Deputy Executive Leader, hosted a visit on 2 July 2018 from a delegation of officials from the Luqiao District of Taizhou City, Zhejiang Province. The delegation, led by Mr Ye Bangrui, Director of the People’s Government of Luqiao District, was invited to Huntingdonshire to hear about our local economy, businesses, local investment opportunities and explore the potential for future collaboration between the two authorities. The delegation was joined by Mr Weiming Gu, Vice President of Geely automotive manufacturing company which has owned car maker Volvo since 2010 and acquired the London Electric Vehicle Company based in Coventry in 2013. Geely originated from the Luqiao district and still has a large manufacturing base there.
During the course of their visit, the two local governments discovered a number of sector specialisms of mutual interest particularly in the fields of clean technology and recycling, precision engineering and the manufacture of lightweight metal panels. They also discussed potential for mutual learning in the fields of support for local economies, development planning and waste collection.
The delegation was interested to hear a presentation from Dr Roger Miles, Managing Director of Mole Solutions Ltd, an example of an innovative Huntingdonshire based company which is developing the concept of underground freight transport systems. The systems can have a major impact on road congestion by transferring much of road freight to a network of 2.3m pipelines laid beside/under existing transport infrastructure. Government funded studies have shown that the systems can be cost effective for much of the road network, have a very low socio-environmental impact and offer a significant reduction in the road damage caused by trucks. Dr Miles said, “We are already working with a number of Chinese organisations to provide an alternative, more sustainable and, importantly, cheaper means of transporting goods and we welcome this opportunity to open a dialogue with the Luqiao District of Taizhou City, one of the wealthiest districts in the Zhejiang province”.
The delegation was also supported by Ms Jinzhao Li of the Cambridge China Centre, a member- led organisation aimed at facilitating commercial and other relationships with China. Each side vowed to collaborate further in the future and develop opportunities for trade and commerce as well as the sharing of best practice.
Before saying their goodbyes, the delegation presented the chairman of the district council with a scroll inscribed with a ‘friends forever’ message and received samples of locally manufactured goods kindly provided by Hotel Chocolat.
Cllr Ryan Fuller, whose responsibilities include economic development and inward investment, said, “This was a very productive initial meeting with the representatives of the Luqiao government and we look forward to developing our relationship with them further. We are glad to be able to support at our local level the national focus on ensuring that China plays a major part in the UK’s redefining of its global trading and commercial relationships in the post-Brexit era. I am sure that our local economy will benefit in terms of trade, commerce and investment as a result of our on-going dialogue.”