Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Alderman John Smyth, has welcomed the Northern Ireland Chinese Consul General, Madame Zhang Meifang, to the borough.
He also welcomed a delegation of business and educational leaders for an introductory luncheon and tour of the award winning Antrim Castle Gardens.
The Mayor said: “It’s a great honour for me to host Madame Zhang to showcase the investment opportunities, tourism offer and the excellent quality of our educational facilities here in Antrim and Newtownabbey. We would like to establish a mutually beneficial friendship with our counterparts in China to share information on best practice and address mutual challenges, to help bring young people together and equip them to build better futures and to learn more about each other’s cultures.”
Council’s Chief Executive Jacqui Dixon said: “One of the key priorities for the Council is growing the economy, with China identified as a vital partner to those investment plans. Closer ties will allow opportunities for mutually beneficial business links through job creation and prosperity both here and in China.”
Madame Zhang said: “Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council is not only rich in agricultural and tourism resources, but also has advantages and characteristics in the fields of economy, trade, education, culture and tourism.
“What’s more, the Council has increased its investment in innovation and digital economy, tourism, infrastructure, occupation education and other fields. I believe there is great potential for furthering the cooperation between China and Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council.”
Guests at the gathering in Mossley Mill included representatives from PSNI, educational officials from Ulster University, Northern Regional College, Parkhall Integrated College and local business leaders from CDE Global, Sensata Technologies and Environmental Street Furniture.
Brian McClean from Sensata said: “Collaboration between Northern Ireland and China is crucial to allow Sensata to continue securing new business opportunities.”
Alan Lowry from Environmental Street Furniture said: “We are actively involved in pursuing the expanding experience attraction market in China and are excited about the opportunity to develop a relationship with Madame Zhang in partnership with Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council.”
Tony Convery of CDE Global said: “China is an important market for any global company and the meeting with Madame Zhang is a fantastic first step for our company.”