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China Trip Opens Doors 6 May 2004

The Manx Government delegation to China has ‘opened doors’ for the Island in one of the world’s largest and fastest growing economies, says Chief Minister Richard Corkill MHK.

The six-day visit between April 24 –30 was led by the Chief Minister and included a series of meetings in Beijing and Shanghai aimed at developing the budding diplomatic and commercial links between the two countries.

Mr Corkill was accompanied by Trade and Industry Minister Alex Downie MHK, Education Minister Steve Rodan MHK, Chief Secretary Mary Williams and E-Commerce Director Tim Craine.

Governmental talks in Beijing culminated with a meeting with Mr Zhang Yesui, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs for the People’s Republic of China.

The Chief Minister said:

"The Vice Minister was very positive about the potential to develop relations between China and the Isle of Man to benefit the economies and peoples of both countries. We have mutual interests in a number of areas, including international trade, economic development, shipping and education.

"China is the sixth largest economy in the world and is continuing to grow fast. With its vast population, the People’s Republic still has a long way to go to raise its GDP per head, but it is interested in quality as well as quantity of development.

"Visiting China and meeting senior people face to face was the best way to get over our message about the Island’s constitutional position and our rising profile as an international business centre with a reputation for quality and innovation. It also showed that we were serious about developing relations with China.

"This was a two-way exercise in learning more about each other, following on from previous diplomatic contacts. It certainly seems to have opened doors for the Island in one of the world’s largest and fastest growing economies. The next step should be an Isle of Man trade mission to China involving private sector as well as public sector representatives."

The visit included a meeting at the China Banking Regulatory Commission, where the Manx delegation highlighted the Island’s combination of commercial competitiveness with regulation to international standards, as confirmed by the IMF. China currently offers limited access to foreign banks but will be opening up as part of the World Trade Organisation process.

A meeting at the International Shipping Division of the Ministry of Communications was an opportunity to point out that Isle of Man interests would be having some 30 ships built in Chinese yards over the next five years, and to confirm that Manx-registered vessels would receive the same favourable treatment as other British-flagged ships in Chinese ports.

At the Ministry of Education, the delegation was able to explain that Island institutions such as the International Business School offer internationally recognised qualifications in a very pleasant environment. It was agreed that further contact and co-operation between the IBS and the Chinese authorities would be a good idea.

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