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Byline: ALISTAIR HOUGHTON City Editor @wimpyking

LIVERPOOL has signed a deal with a Chinese city that could lead to a garden being built at Liverpool's Garden Festival site.

A city region delegation in China signed a "memorandum of understanding" with Kunming, a city of seven million people in southern China.

The agreement includes the possibility of Kunming designing and installing a garden at the Otterspool Garden Festival site.

And Liverpool will be represented at one of the biggest Asian trade fairs in history, June's China-South Asia Expo 2017, which attracts thousands of businesses from more than 30 countries. A delegation from Liverpool city region, including Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson and Wirral Council leader Cllr Phil Davies, is on a two-week trade mission to China designed to attract investment to Liverpool and to help Mersey firms do deals in China.

Cllr Davies said: "The new memorandum with Kunming will see emerging opportunities for Wirral and city region businesses to connect with a flourishing region of China and we have already seen significant interest in Wirral's strengths in such sectors as advanced manufacturing.

"This is the first time the city region has come together in this way and it's a clear example of how we can offer a more compelling proposition as a combined region."

Mayor Anderson said: "There are clear opportunities for Liverpool city region companies to win investment and contracts by engaging with this fast-growing area of China and the Expo next year will be a great platform for businesses which want to connect with new markets in south east Asia."

Cheng Lianyuan, Communist Party Secretary of Kunming and the city's most senior government official, said: "We are developing a special relationship with Liverpool city region which I believe will benefit both cities."

Kunming's history can be traced back more than 2,000 years, but its rapid growth began when the railway from Hanoi in Vietnam arrived in the early 20th century. It is the capital and largest city in Yunnan Province.

A delegation from Kunming visited Liverpool during this year's International Festival for Business, staging a Yunnan culture exhibition in Liverpool One.

The Invest Liverpool delegation also includes companies from the marketing, property and technology sectors. As well as visiting Kunming, it will call at the cities of Chongqing, Tianjin, Beijing, Qingdao and Shanghai. Each delegate will travel 15,547 miles.


Kunming delegates in Liverpool for IFB2016 and, above, the Queen at the opening of the Garden Festival, with the original Chinese garden in the background

Officials from Kunming and the Liverpool city region, including Cllr Phil Davies, mayor Joe Anderson, second left, and Communist Party Secretary of Kunming Cheng Lianyuan mark the signing of the memorandum of understanding

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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:Oct 28, 2016
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