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Councillors embark on Northern Powerhouse ‘trade mission’

Representatives from Great Manchester Combined Authority, Manchester City Council and Leeds City Council joined David Cameron and business secretary Sajid Javid yesterday (29 July) on a Northern Powerhouse-focused ‘trade mission’ to Asia.

The four-day trip with the prime minister is an effort to boost investment in the north and fuel the Northern Powerhouse plans by forging links between the region and business leaders in Singapore and Malaysia.

It also forms part of chancellor George Osborne’s plans to enhance regional economies through investment in infrastructure and devolution.

A total of 62 northern companies are joining local authority delegates to explore business opportunities in the trip, including a £12m investment from Malaysian Petra Group to develop a rubber recycling facility somewhere in the north east. The business trip also follows an announcement that a Singaporean consortium acquired a 2.45-acre development site in Leeds.

Cllr Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, is joining the council’s chief economic development officer and a representative of the Leeds Chamber of Commerce in the trip, hoping to capitalise on the opportunity to expand economic ties internationally. She will also meet with representatives from the company that has invested in the city’s major development site.

She said: “By building partnerships we are hoping to tap into a vastly-expanding economic market to build trade links and further attract South East Asian investment.

“This in turn should widen opportunity for local businesses and create employment for people in our city.”

Cameron called the ongoing investment deals with Asian companies a “testament to the skills and expertise” the north has to offer and said the region presents a lot of “untapped potential”.

He added: “The government is committed to ensuring the UK’s northern regions play their part in rebalancing our economy.”

Other members of the trade delegation joining the city leaders include the universities of Central Lancashire, Nottingham, Salford, Sheffield, and Newcastle, as well as Transport for Greater Manchester.


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