The Mid & East Antrim area was in the investment ‘shop window’ yesterday as theborough played host to the Consul General of the People’s Republic of China.
Madam Wang Shuying was welcomed to the area by the Mayor, Councillor Audrey Wales MBE prior to the opening of ‘important three-way discussions’ between local businesses, the Council and the Consulate-General.
The Mayor said: “Securing Consul General Wang Shuying and her accompanying guests to the Borough is a great opportunity to raise our profile as an attractive investment location” the Mayor added.
“We are focused on Council’s number one strategic priority of ‘Growing the Economy’ and are committed to growing and developing local business to improve productivity and competitiveness.
“The Business and Chinese community engagement event was not just about focusing on export led growth, but importantly showcasing our area as an outstanding location to live and work in, and as an attractive investment location for Foreign Direct Investment from Chinese businesses and others,” the Mayor added.
Cllr Wales explained that she had commissioned a necklace designed and handcrafted by a local firm, The Gem Blossom, as a very special gift for the Consul General.
“The bespoke piece was made especially in the theme of the Chinese New Year, which is represented by the carefully selected colours and stones used. I want to thank Gem Blossom proprietor, Pauline McConnell, for all her exceptional hard work in producing this magnificent masterpiece”
“Today was a great opportunity to support local business and represented the exceptional local talent and the calibre of creative enterprises in the Borough,” the Mayor said, adding that, throughout the incoming year, Council will be investing heavily in growing the local economy, creating sustainable jobs and attracting investment.
As well as meeting local business representatives, the Consul General benefited from hearing businesses outline their experiences of the Chinese market as well as travelling to a local manufacturer, Dinsmore Textile Solutions, in Kells, to hear first-hand about that company’s export product range and trading activities.
A keynote address was then given by the Consul General - with an all-important opportunity to undertake some networking, with a view to enabling the Consul General and her accompanying guests to engage with local businesses and Chinese Community.
Taking time out from their own New Year celebrations, local representatives of the Chinese community were also invited to this reception. The event has been supported by The Executive Office through Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s Good Relations Programme.
Cllr Wales said: “Hopefully all present appreciated Chinese Consul General Wang Shuying’s keynote address – I know I was very keen to hear what the Consul had to say and what her impressions were of Mid and East Antrim Borough overall - and more specifically – how she viewed the many investment opportunities that are available,” said the Mayor.
“This business and Chinese Community event was a highlight of the Borough’s Chinese New Year celebrations, which taken overall, will hopefully also underline that Council wants everyone who lives - or works - in this Borough to feel welcome, safe, respected - and celebrated - as we continue to Work Together to ‘Create a Better Future for All’,” Cllr Wales added.