Friendship agreement between Ipswich and Wenzhou could be the start of a mutually beneficially trading relationship, says Labour Parliamentary Candidate and Council Leader, David Ellesmere.
It was a real pleasure to welcome a delegation from the Chinese city of Wenzhou to Ipswich last week.
Wenzhou is a very prosperous area of China so it is a real feather in our cap that they chose to sign a friendship agreement with Ipswich. We are the only area of the UK they have done this with.
Our rapid growth and proximity to London, Cambridge and the Port of Felixstowe, along with our strong hi-tech and financial sectors and the increasing reputation of the university, are getting us noticed.
The delegation were clearly impressed with Ipswich and the friendly welcome they received from everyone they met. A particular thanks needs to go to Ipswich’s Anglo Chinese Cultural Exchange for initiating the dialogue between Ipswich and Wenzhou and helping to make the visit a success.
This is just the start. A lot of work now needs be done to build on these initial contacts but there is a strong desire on both sides to do this.
We agreed with Mayor Chen Jinbiao four concrete areas for initial work: building up cultural links; growing tourism between our two areas; stronger links between the universities; and increasing trade through Felixstowe. (Wenzhou is a particularly big manufacturer of clothing)
If we can make a success of these, then there is the real possibility that many more economic benefits will begin to flow to Ipswich and Suffolk from our links with Wenzhou.