Historic agreement opens door to China for Yorkshire businesses

23 May 2016


NEW links with China have been forged for Yorkshire businesses thanks to a pioneering partnership agreed by Chamber International.

The export specialists have joined up with the British Chamber of Commerce in Southwest China to agree reciprocal arrangements which will open doors for businesses in Yorkshire to meet potential buyers and customers in that crucial export market.

The Southwest China Chamber has 240 member companies and many more links with local Chinese businesses, organisations and government departments.

Under the historic Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), the two Chambers agree to provide access for members visiting each other’s area, including the support of staff, and to promote each other’s member companies and publicise trade and investment between the two regions. 

Southwest China is one of the fastest growing regions of China, with Chengdu and Chongqing, recording 8.9% and 10.9% growth respectively in 2014, compared to a national average of 7.9%. Chongqing has been the fastest growing city economy in China for the last two years.

Matthew Grandage, Chamber International’s China specialist, paved the way for the partnership during a business trip to Chengdu.

Matthew worked in China for 15 years and is proficient in Mandarin, with in-depth knowledge of the business opportunities and culture. 

He said: “This new agreement is a great opportunity for businesses in both the UK and Southwest China to forge direct partnerships and strengthen trade. 

“We want to show UK businesses that there is far more to China than Beijing and the coastal regions. This area has a population of nearly 200 million people, includes major cities such as Chongqing, Chengdu and Kunming, and has an increasing desire for high quality goods and services. 

“It’s great to see how more and more Yorkshire businesses are getting this message and finding new markets in Southwest China.”

Some British companies have made the south west their base for all China operations – including Queen’s Award for Export winners LMK Thermosafe, who design and manufacture drum heaters for hazardous industrial environments at their base in Suffolk. 

Managing director Mark Newton said: “The Southwest China region is developing at lightning speed, with a population as large as the UK, France and Germany combined, as well as excellent communications and infrastructure.

“We’ve set up a sales office in Chengdu and have found it a great place to do business, especially since British Airways has begun to fly there direct from Heathrow, removing the need to transit in Beijing, Shanghai or Hong Kong.”

Matthew Grandage of Chamber International, right, and Ben Metcalf of BritCham Southwest China, meeting in Chengdu to agree the new partnership.


Follow Chamber International on Twitter @ChamberInt and on Facebook to learn about upcoming events.

Chamber International & British Chamber of Commerce in Southwest China MoU