New analysis from Deloitte has shown that the North West of England has continued to strengthen trading relationships with China — with total exports passing the £10 billion mark in the last six years.
The analysis revealed that annual export figures from the North West to China have remained stable at between £1.5 billion and £1.8 billion each year.
Despite the ongoing uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, this figure has remained consistent over the past 12 months.
The North West has exported £1.2 billion to Chinese businesses in the first three quarters of the year at an average of £400 million per quarter.
This represents a rise on the £375 million quarterly average seen in 2019, and is identical to 2018 levels.
Outside of the trading relationships, the North West has developed connections with China across a number of areas.
This includes Manchester University becoming the most popular university for Chinese students, with more than 5,000 students enrolling – one in eight of total students at the university.
This continued success in China has been driven by the progress of the Manchester China Forum.
Established in 2013 by George Osborne, the Manchester China Forum has since supported Chinese firms in their investment in projects with a development value of more than £6 billion, including the £1 billion Airport City development and the £1 billion Northern Gateway project.
John Cooper, partner at Deloitte in the North West, said: “China has become one of the most important international trade partners for the North West in recent years, and have increasingly taken an interest in investing in high profile infrastructure projects in the region.
“By continuing to cultivate this relationship, China can support the sustained economic recovery of the North West, as well as help to drive the ‘Levelling Up’ agenda on a national scale.
“There are also considerable synergies between the North West and China when it comes to shared knowledge and experience.
“With Greater Manchester committed to a zero carbon target of 2038, there is considerable advice and guidance businesses from the region can provide as China looks to cap its own carbon footprint.”
David Percival, partner at Deloitte and chair of the Manchester China Forum, said: “A key objective of the Manchester China Forum, was to take a holistic approach of our relationship with China.
“When approaching inter-city relationships, many organisations elect to improve one area, whether trade or tourism, but we recognised that it was crucial to consider all elements to drive sustainable growth for both parties.
“As a result, Manchester has become an extremely attractive proposition for China, from our manufacturing capabilities to our higher education institutions.
“We remain committed to sharing best practice and knowledge to maximise the speed of recovery and drive international trade for the future.”