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Exports to China remain strong during pandemic

North West exports to China have surpassed £10 billion since 2015 and have remained consistent over the past 12 months, demonstrating the resilience of trade between the two parties.

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According to analysis from Deloitte to mark the Chinese New Year, annual export figures from the North West have remained stable at £1.5-1.8 billion for the past six years.

The first three quarters of 2020 saw £1.2 billion worth of exports to China, an average of £400 million per quarter - higher than the quarterly average in 2019.

Outside of trading relationships, the North West has continued to develop strong connections with China across a number of areas in recent years. For example, the University of Manchester has become the most popular university for Chinese students, who now make up one eighth of the university’s student population.

John Cooper, partner at Deloitte North West, explained:

“China has become one of the most important international trade partners for the North West in recent years, and have increasingly taken an interest in investing in high profile infrastructure projects in the region. By continuing to cultivate this relationship, China can support the sustained economic recovery of the North West, as well as help to drive the ‘Levelling Up’ agenda on a national scale.

“There are also considerable synergies between the North West and China when it comes to shared knowledge and experience. With Greater Manchester committed to a zero carbon target of 2038, there is considerable advice and guidance businesses from the region can provide as China looks to cap its own carbon footprint.”

The continued success of the North West’s relationship with China has been driven by the Manchester China Forum, which was established in 2013 and has supported Chinese firms to invest more than £6 billion in the region to date.

David Percival, Chair of the Manchester China Forum, said:

“Manchester has become an extremely attractive proposition for China, from our manufacturing capabilities to our higher education institutions. We remain committed to sharing best practice and knowledge to maximise the speed of recovery and drive international trade for the future.”

China has recently overtaken the US as the EU’s biggest trading partner, bucking the wider trend of dipping trade with most of Europe’s major trading partners during the pandemic. The country was the only major global economy to see growth in 2020.

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