Sunderland’s Vaux site development is being showcased to potential Chinese investors today.
The site is included in a portfolio of projects across the Government’s ‘Northern Powerhouse’ area, which sets out details of 13 large-scale property and infrastructure development projects - each worth more than £100million - in an attempt to attract Chinese investors.
Chancellor Philip Hammond is meeting a Chinese delegation headed by vice premier Ma Kai in London for the eighth UK-China Economic and Financial Dialogue as ministers seek to underline that Britain remains “open for business” following the vote for Brexit.
Mr Hammond said China and the UK remained “natural partners”.
“The mutual benefits are clear,” he said.
“China is the world’s second largest economy; UK exports to China have grown rapidly and Britain is home to more Chinese investment than any other European country.
China is the world’s second largest economy; UK exports to China have grown rapidly and Britain is home to more Chinese investment than any other European country.Philip Hammond
“As we seek to take to take the golden era of UK-China relations to the next step, we have a major opportunity to open up investment opportunities across the Northern Powerhouse.
“This portfolio, opening up billions of pounds of investment-ready projects to Chinese investors, will support our work to grow and create jobs across the North, as well as underpin our ambitions to bring world class infrastructure to every corner of Britain.”
The move will be seen as a fresh attempt to reassure the Chinese after a rocky start to relations under Mrs May.
One of her first acts on becoming Prime Minister last July was to order a review of the project to build the new Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant - part-financed by the Chinese - to the intense annoyance of Beijing.
But having finally given the green light to the plant last September, Mrs May has again echoed the deal’s architect, former chancellor George Osborne, in speaking of a “golden era” in Sino-UK relations.
“I’m determined that as we leave the European Union, we build a truly global Britain that is open for business,” she said in a statement ahead of the talks.
“As we take the next step in this golden era of relations between the UK and China, I am excited about the opportunities for expanding trade and investment between our two countries.”
There will also be an announcement that the Chinese contractor CITIC Construction is to invest £200million in the first phase of the £1.7billion London Royal Albert Docks project, headed by the Chinese developer ABP.
The UK will in turn invest up to £40million in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank based in Beijing, for a fund to help developing countries to prepare infrastructure programmes.