Speech delivered at the UK – China Regional Leaders Summit on 15/10/18
From Mayor Dan Jarvis.
It is an honour and a privilege to be here this morning to address you on behalf of the Northern Powerhouse and the Sheffield City Region.
To our Dalian hosts I offer you my thanks for your warm welcome in this fantastic venue and in your wonderful city.
I am delighted to represent not just the Sheffield City Region, an economy of £34bn but also the great cities and regions of the North; from Manchester, Liverpool, Cheshire and Warrington, Newcastle, Leeds and Sheffield as well as the network of towns, rural and coastal regions that make up the United Kingdom’s northern economy; the Northern Powerhouse.
Together the northern economies form an economy of £290bn, with over 1 million private sector businesses, that is securing new inward investment at a faster rate than the UK average and that exports over £50bn of goods around the world.
It is also an economy and a region that is a great friend of China – one that has already built strong, productive relationships and is one that has the full support of the UK Government.
Chinese investment is already helping unlock new developments in the great cities of the North including Manchester, Liverpool and Sheffield.
Northern businesses are major exporters of both goods and services into the Chinese economy,
We host tens of thousands of Chinese students at our great universities,
and we welcome thousands of Chinese visitors to our region each year.
Each region has a distinctive story and a unique contribution to make.
But it was the North that was the cradle of the world’s first industrial revolution.
New factories, new machines, new methods of production and international trade through the sea ports of Hull and Liverpool unleashed the first tide of globalisation.
This heralded the birth of the great cities of Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Newcastle and Sheffield.
It is upon these foundations that the Northern Powerhouse is built.
And innovation, research, production and the art of making is still where our strengths lie.
In Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle and the Sheffield City Region we’re investing in our infrastructure, our aviation capacity and our research assets.
Today, powered by a resurgent economy, our goods and services spread across the globe by road, rail and air.
We are bold about our future and positive about the potential to build relationships with the rest of the world.
And in China we have a natural partner.
A partner that faces the same challenges of transitioning to the new digital and tech led world, of ageing populations, of shifting from heavy industry to a greener and cleaner economy and ensuring our workforce has the skills required to thrive in the mid 21st century.
I want to talk very briefly about the Sheffield City Region.
About what sets us apart.
People are the Sheffield City Region’s strongest asset.
They are tough, resilient and creative.
Our people were at the heart of the world’s first industrial revolution, and these same qualities now power our 21st-century advanced manufacturing and engineering story.
Our region is one that is embedded in the fabric of the modern world.
In bridges. In railways. In skyscrapers. In nuclear power stations. In jet engines. In cars. In ships. In medical instruments.
It is a place where great ideas formed.
It was innovators in Sheffield that invented stainless steel – and took it around the world.
It is that same spirit of endeavour, innovation and production behind the research teams at our Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre that have attracted Rolls Royce, Boeing and McLaren.
It was 19th century rail engineers in Doncaster that built the Flying Scotsman and the Mallard, the world’s fastest steam trains.
It is that same spirit of endeavour, innovation and production that is now instilled in the new National College for High Speed Rail that trains the next generation of high speed rail technicians.
It is this same spirit of endeavour, innovation and production behind our new vision for a Global Innovation Corridor that will connect our businesses, researchers and urban centres with our international airport to create high value economic growth.
Helping us complete that shift to a new digital led advanced manufacturing age.
We are a region that is responding to the great challenges of the day.
We have developed the world’s first fully reconfigurable factory – showing how the new digital world maps to traditional manufacturing and engineering excellence.
We are meeting the challenge of an ageing population head on through the Sheffield Hallam Universities advanced wellbeing research centre.
We are meeting the challenge of green technology challenge by creating and engineering new materials that are lighter, stronger and more efficient to produce.
It is this ability to design, develop and distribute innovative solutions that will place us at the forefront of the next industrial revolution.
And with that we have significant partnership potential for businesses and regions looking to tackle these same great challenges.
We have a very simple mission.
We want to be more productive.
And easy to do business with.
We know this is a mission we share with Dalian, Liaoning, and many other cities and provinces of China.
This is an important time for cities and regions from across the United Kingdom to strengthen existing bonds but to also forge new relationships with regional government and business representatives from across China.
We’re growing our innovation potential, we’re building tens of thousands of new homes, and creating new communities, regenerating our towns and cities and building a transport network that connects our people and businesses to local, national and international opportunities.
It is quite a journey, we invite you to bring your ideas, your skills and your ambition to join us.
And when you do, you must come and see for yourselves our great cities, our museums, theatres and galleries, our great football teams, our national parks and our universities.
We have much to offer.
This is my first trip to China. I sincerely hope it will not be my last.
– Mayor Dan Jarvis