Area’s Chinese links are strengthened

Guests mark the moment of the signing of the Letter of Intent
Guests mark the moment of the signing of the Letter of Intent

An agreement that could be the start of new cultural and economic opportunities for South Ayrshire has been signed by the council and a delegation from Liaocheng City, in China’s Shandong Province.

A delegation from Liaocheng City met with South Ayrshire business leaders last week to discuss potential investment opportunities and a separate agreement was signed by the council to explore potential new cultural connections.

Targeting inward investment and promoting the export market has led the council to look at new global partners to help generate the local economy. At a networking event in Ayr, the Scotland-China Innovation and Technology Association said that Liaocheng and South Ayrshire have key similarities, with manufacturing an important area of mutual interest.

Councillor Brian McGinley, South Ayrshire Council’s portfolio holder for economy and culture said the visit had sparked positive discussion about future opportunities: “We were pleased to welcome the delegation from China which outlined potential opportunities for business growth while also highlighting common ground and shared values.

“It’s clear that South Ayrshire is an attractive prospect for inward investment and we will continue to work with partners from across the world to help realise new opportunities for local business while also attracting inward investment and creating jobs.”

The Chinese delegation were also exploring the potential for closer cultural ties and during their visit formally signed a Letter of Intent to promote mutual understanding and friendship, marking the start of a process which could leave a lasting legacy linking the two communities.

South Ayrshire Provost, Helen Moonie said: “I was proud to welcome our guests to County Buildings for a civic reception, and I’m pleased to say our visitors enjoyed their time getting to know the people and places of South Ayrshire.

“During their visit we signed a new cultural agreement, marking the start of a process that will bring our two regions closer together as we learn more about our cultural differences and celebrate shared values.”

To help promote the growing opportunities between the two countries South Ayrshire Council has developed Confucius classroom hubs for both primary and secondary schools which promote Chinese language and culture.