Tuesday, November 27, 2007

China Matters

The Thanet District Council (TDC) delegation visit to China last week appears to have prepared the way for a significant investment and employment initiative at Manston Business Park.

Leader of the Conservative group, Cllr.Sandy Ezekiel, who with Cabinet member, Cllr. Roger Latchford, spent four days visiting companies in both Hong Kong and Beijing, commented:

“Our visit to China was exceptionally worthwhile and we have a far better understanding now of the project being proposed. The idea of Chinese companies coming to Thanet is very much a realistic prospect and it’s clear that this is a fantastic opportunity for the area and one that we will be working hard to ensure we seize.”

Cllr Ezekiel added:

“The message that we kept hearing throughout the visit, was that the Chinese, was that Thanet is exceptionally well-placed for their needs, with its location close to both London and continental Europe. "They have made it clear", said Cllr Ezekiel, "that they are keen to have a base here and that would in turn lead to a major jobs boost for the area, with many of these being recruited locally; with a knock-on effect for other businesses in the local economy.”

The TDC delegation met with the President of the China-Europe Association for Technical & Economic Cooperation and the Chairman and President of Chinamex, an outward investment company supported by the Chinese government. The latter plans to visit Thanet early next year and a planning application is expected in the coming weeks.

Ken Wills – CEO of Commercial Group Properties PLC, whose company owns part of Manston Business Park has been working in China since 1989. He made the introduction and acted as 'co-host' with Chinamex, which has a mandate from the Chinese Government to globalise Chinese businesses through its 'China Gateway' initiative.

Ken remarked:

"We are extremely pleased with the response from the Chinese businesses and the welcome that they extended to the delegation from TDC and we now have the basis of what will be a great partnership to develop the Manston Business Park as a ‘China Gateway facility bringing business from china to the UK to allow them to develop their own businesses throughout Europe.”


Anonymous said...

let us hope that the initiative comes to fruition.

It does seem that all Thanet had to offer was Location Location Location.

I doubt China is under any illusion about the quality of the UK workforce.

All they would have to do is surf the web to read the security concerns that UK has insufficient engineers and scientists to decommission existing nuclear plant or to build new. Hence the security fears that we will have to employ about twenty thousand foreign experts.

All this whilst our people, purportedly well educated for the needs of the future, have studied trivial pursuits such as Drama Studies, Womens Studies, Retail Studies, Golf Course Management, Business Studies, Psychology, Sociology, Field Archeology, Marketing Management, Media Studies.

How many of the unemployed, now being targetted by Gordon for mandatory "Skills" training, are graduates ? Graduates of subjects of no use to the country's economic and infrastructure needs ?

A country where Romanian and Phillipino technicians wire our railway signalling systems ?

A country where the French decommission our Dounreay and HMS Vulcan nuclear facility because we lack the expertise.

And this is nothing new Simon.

At the end of the war our expertise was plugged by bringing in useful Nazis (aeronautics and nuclear developments). Airey Neave got the Abingdon seat so Harlow Nuclear research station fell in his constituency and he chaired the Science and technology select committee. What role he played at Nuremberg with MI14 in recruiting useful Nazis ?? (At that time Sue Ryder and other ex SOE girls worked under charity cover in postwar Europe and wrote their own song "how many Nazis have we smuggled to England today". But Neaves the politician's warnings that we needed to educate more of our own scientists and engineers still ring true to mock us ?

Musashi, Simon, "Remember that the enemy artisan is also his soldier" (Lower the enemy skill levels as warfare by other means).

Whilst hoping for job creation in Thanet do not lose sight of the bigger picture.

Anonymous said...

Although it would not surprise me to learn that some Chinese engineers and scientists make their way to the University of Glamorgan to seek out the expertise in eco fuel technology (coal combined with recycled waste)being developed with the worker buy out of Tower Colliery ??

How more wrong could Maggie have been ? If only she had listened to the majority of experts on economics and on the future for deep mined coal.

Anonymous said...

Fascinating stuff. The airport, seaport, railways links, motorway links and closeness of the continent are all good factors in our favour. The one concern I see is the apparence of a cheap local labour force, good if you are investing here, not so good if you want to gather personal wealth. That said maybe we can become wealthier together with the Chinese! I'll welcome them here.

Tony Beachcomber said...

Annon 1:25, I agree with you, it is fascinating stuff I just hope it is not another false dawn and the council pull it off. It also pleasing to see Ken Wills is on the act.

Michael Child said...

Ramsgate after the revolution of 1688 suddenly developed into a fairly important seaport engaged in trade with Russia and the East, it was the beginnings of Thanet’s foreign trade that did so much for our prosperity.

Hopefully this will the start of another period of prosperity for us all, however I have to say as others will, I am concerned about human rights in China.

Anonymous said...

Me too, why on earth is it even being considered until the human rights issues have been properly dealt with? Makes even more of a mockery of the reasons why we have guys dying in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Anonymous said...

does it not make you proud that this council is looking forward to bring work to thanet ,i think this council needs everybodys surport on this matter and lets hope the leader of t.d.c.gets what is great for thanet so please give him and the councilyour surport

tony flaig bignews said...

One benefit for chinese investors is that they will be able to read thanet bloggers without risking arrest, thus making this better than any chinese location.

Hooray for sandy and all.

Anonymous said...

I see the reference to the possibility of Steel manufacturing here has been strategically omitted. How diplomatic of you.

Jeremy Jacobs said...

Nice One Tony

Anonymous said...

Worth a look. I wonder who has shares...?

Oops I can feel a Council Question coming on. Can you Simon...?

I wonder who else has had a 'bung' - sorry - legitimate contribution to a just political cause. Perhaps Ken is spreading his bets. Can you give us a commitment that nothing has come your way...?

No doubt you will be featuring Dr Ladyman's suporter. But can you speak with authoity for your masters....?

Come on Simon .... do tell

Worth a look....


Some of us wonder why Ezekiel is so keen - do you...?

Advocate - Democracy thru truth

Anonymous said...

Wow! That CGP website is very interesting. I smell.....something.

Anonymous said...

Let me help:

"Commercial Group Properties PLC, the AIM-listed property company, announces that it has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding ("MOU") with Zhejiang Province, acting through Chairman Bao of the Taizhou Foreign Merchant Information Federation with a view in due course to leasing 2,500,000 sq. ft. at CGP's China Gateway site at Manston, Kent.
Under the MOU, CGP will arrange for outline planning permission for the building of the additional 2,500,000 sq. ft. of business accommodation on what is currently agricultural land at the site. Following the receipt of outline planning consent, Zhejiang Province Enterprises will sign an agreement to lease covering 2,500,000 sq. ft., such lease to run for 10 years from the date of first occupation.
This follows the Company's announcement on 17 May 2007 that it had agreed to lease between 900,000 sq. ft. and 1,100,000 sq. ft. to the Beijing Association of SME at the same site."

Anonymous said...

As a professional investment manager (in my day job), under FSA regulation, as well as a Councillor, perhaps I can help. Also, perhaps, the use of a quick dash of urban-myth dispersal spray.

I’m sorry if any of this sounds a bit pompous – it’s not intended to, but facts are sometimes a bit boring;

The Zhejiang MOU is between CGP and the other parties mentioned in CGP’s Regulated News Service release (from which the previous was copied and pasted).

TDC is not party to it.

TDC is party to one MOU, with Bautou City, already publicly announced. CGP acts as agents for Bautou. This is also detailed in CGP’s RNS releases. It does not provide for any financial exchange.

These are perfectly standard stepping stones for an inbound investment of this type, for the company concerned – in this case, CGP.

Any Councillor with an interest in CGP, or its shares, would be required to declare that interest, or any other financial interest. It is also a requirement to disclose any interest of a type whereby the Councillor concerned could benefit to an extent greater than any other resident of the area. Further requirements include disclosure of any interest, which might, or is likely to, be perceived by any member of the public as a conflict. These include, for example, any receipt of hospitality or in kind with more than a value of £20.

All councillors must refrain from promoting the commercial interest of one private company over another, other than in due process of forming policy or making decisions required.

These are, quite rightly, tough standards.

I think it’s a little puerile to suggest “bungs” or anything else. If we are to be expected to promote the area’s economy, some interface between the Council and the commercial sector is vital.

For the avoidance of doubt, I have no direct or indirect interest in CGP shares, or any financial interest in the venture succeeding. It is within my easy reach to buy CGP shares as soon as I walk into the office tomorrow. If I did so, I would be obliged to declare it immediately, and would as a result be almost certainly excluded from any discussion or vote concerning CGP in my capacity as a Councillor

I believe this is quite correct, if the public is to trust its Council.

On other posts concerned with manufacturing, I think it highly unlikely that the Chinese would want to establish a manufacturing presence (let alone a steel plant!) in the UK. The difference in labour costs between China and the UK is around a factor of 40. What they are looking for, I suspect, is technology, and research and development – higher value-added areas.

Best wishes to all

Cllr Ewen Cameron