Launch reception for UK-China Regional Leaders Summit, the most significant gathering of its kind ever held in the UK

The programme for the most significant UK-China Regional Leaders Summit ever held in the UK is to be revealed at a launch reception in Birmingham, a month to the day before more than 700 distinguished guests will gather in the city to discuss closer collaboration between the two countries.

Midlands Engine Chairman Sir John Peace will host a launch reception for the Summit at Birmingham’s International Convention Centre (ICC) in Birmingham on Friday 17 January alongside
leaders from business, local government and academia, and a welcome video from Liu Xiaoming, Ambassador of China to the United Kingdom. The Summit itself takes place from 17-19 February 2020, with attendance from around 700 distinguished national and regional leaders, businesses, universities and senior government officials from China and the UK.

The programme includes a spectacular formal welcome ceremony and dinner, and an all-day conference to showcase the region’s wealth of strengths at Birmingham ICC. The three-day Summit
concludes with a series of visits to towns, cities and communities across the Midlands, designed to grow friendships and working relationships between the UK and China and showcase the region’s beauty and diversity.

The Summit will focus on “the UK and China working together to address global challenges” and will highlight opportunities for even greater collaboration between both nations. The Summit’s key
themes, all interconnected by a focus on education and learning, include:

  • Green energy: A priority for countries worldwide, the Midlands is leading the way in a number of clean technologies ranging from transportation innovation to battery power.
  • Smart places: Building and shaping environments to be low impact, which safeguard precious resources, harness technology and data will pave the way for a more integrated and sustainable way of living.
  • Healthy communities and healthy ageing: Ensuring quality of life for all and for our ageing populations is a shared priority. We know we must adapt, harness wisdom and retain capabilities as demographics change.
  • Feeding our populations: As climate change poses challenges and populations grow, focusing on locally grown, sustainable food production will remain a priority.

Cultural Programme

The Summit will also include an exciting cultural programme in partnership with the Birmingham Chinese Community Association, Birmingham City University and the University of Nottingham. The programme will blend Midlands and Chinese art, music and performance, with highlights including:

• Concert performance: compered by Julian Lloyd Webber, Principal of Birmingham Conservatoire and coordinated by classical pianist and cultural ambassador Di Xiao. Performers include cellist Jiaxin Lloyd Webber and British singer Mary-Jess, winner of the Chinese version of X factor in 2010.

• School lantern performance: Local school children will perform a selection of Chinese and English songs, to reflect the friendship of the two countries. Forging strategic connections and close friendships.

The Midlands Engine has long identified China as a key partner for the Midlands and over the past three years we have been privileged to both lead and receive delegations to build strong, thriving
relationships with China at the very highest levels.

In 2018, exports to China from the Midlands totalled £3.9 billion. China is the Midlands’ fourth biggest export market, behind the USA, Germany and France.

Sir John Peace, Chairman of Midlands Engine, said: “The Summit is a once-in-a-decade opportunity for us to continue forging a Golden Era for our two nations, and to build on the cultural and economic links which already exist for the powerful benefit of both countries.

With deepening friendships, important civic connections and the bonds between our economies growing faster than ever, the Summit will offer our gathered community the chance to make new connections and friendships. “I look forward to welcoming distinguished dignitaries from across China to Birmingham, to demonstrate the incredible talent, capabilities, diversity and beauty of our region. Through friendship and ever-strengthening ties between our regions and provinces, we can forge a deeper and lasting legacy for future generations.”

Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, Local Government Secretary and Midlands Engine Ministerial Champion, said: “From green energy to health technology, the Midlands leads the world in tackling some of the biggest global challenges of our time so Birmingham is a fitting location for this landmark summit which will showcase the very best of the region and strengthen valuable ties between China and the UK.

“As a proud Midlander representing the people of Newark in Parliament and the whole region as the Government’s champion in Cabinet, I share the excitement this event is generating across the
Midlands and look forward to seeing the benefits it will undoubtedly bring.

“Working with the Midlands Engine Partnership to boost international investment in the region is at the heart of this government’s ambition to level up and ensure the whole UK is ready to make the most of exciting new global opportunities.”

Birmingham-based Chinese classical pianist Di Xiao, curator of the Summit’s Cultural Programme, said: “The Midlands has many cultural links with China and so I am honoured to be putting together a programme that celebrates the art, performance and musical heritage of our two countries. We have some very exciting plans that showcase world class performers as well as young, up and coming talent from the UK and China.

“While the Summit will rightly showcase the many commercial and academic links between the two countries, the cultural programme that sits alongside it is vital to convey the deeper understanding and mutual prosperity possible through greater cross-cultural collaboration.”