East Anglia: Visit by Chinese delegation set to boost off-shore wind investment

PROSPECTS for substantial international investment in Suffolk, Essex and Norfolk will receive a boost this week, with the counties hosting a crucial visit by a delegation of world-leading wind farm equipment manufacturers from China.

A two-day tour of local business and tourism hotspots in Suffolk and Norfolk today and tomorrow by 29 senior businesspeople and trade officials from the Jiangsu province in China will include visits to Bury St Edmunds, Southwold, Lowestoft, Great Yarmouth and Norwich. The Chinese delegation will then move on to Essex later in the week.

The multi-million pound investors from the Chinese province of Jiangsu, a focal point for the Chinese offshore wind energy industry, are visiting the region to look at investing in the production of offshore wind farm equipment along the East of England Energy Zone, as well as opportunities for UK businesses to support developments in China.

The visit is the latest stage in the joint initiative by Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex county councils to work with China to create new export and inward investment opportunities, leading to local job creation.

The east of England has more than 40 years’ experience in offshore energy production and has the second largest concentration of offshore wind farms in the world, making it an attractive prospect for inward investors.

By 2020, offshore wind in the East of England is predicted to be worth �23billion with the potential of creating tens of thousands of new jobs.

The delegation will visit East Port in Great Yarmouth, attend a business networking event at the OrbisEnergy Centre in Lowestoft followed by an evening event in Norwich Castle. They will also visit key tourism and cultural attractions, including the Cathedral and Abbey Gardens in Bury St Edmunds and Southwold pier. This will be followed by a tour of sites of strategic importance in Essex towards the end of the week.

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Judy Terry, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for economic development, said: “Our strategic partnership with Norfolk and Essex is proving to be invaluable as we work together to promote the many benefits that Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex have to offer.

“We are proving time and again that we are a world-class prospect when it comes to attracting inward investment in offshore wind power, and also exporting the excellent products we produce.

“I cannot emphasise enough how vital this relationship is with businesses in the Jiangsu Province for creating new jobs and supporting our local economy. The fact that two of the seven businesses are returning for a second visit speaks volumes.”