In the early hours of the morning I touched down in Beijing as part of the Prime Minister’s trade mission to China.
There are six government ministers and a wide range of people from across British industry accompanying the PM, and we are entirely focussed on sending the message that Britain is ‘open for business’. During our trip we’ll be aiming to help build a long-term relationship between China and the UK, and discussing a range of challenges that we face in the modern age, while showcasing the best of Britain.
From my perspective, there are so many creative, cultural and sporting opportunities that we can use to forge greater ties between our nations and drive investment into the UK. Often, it is our culture that is our calling card, providing a platform for discussions and trade and we need to make the most of it.
In addition, British football is renowned all over the world from our clubs to our fans, our players to our history.
The strength of the Premier League isn’t just measured by the sheer number of people that watch the games, but the impact it has on people’s lives.
This morning’s deal between the Premier League and the Chinese Super League highlights the UK’s unique potential for establishing world class partnerships to drive growth.
Football’s power is a global currency, and the British Council and Premier League’s Premier Skills programme highlights how we use our expertise to create real opportunities for young people in China and across the globe.
But it’s not just our world class sporting programmes that can be used to bring our nations together. Earlier today I joined the Chinese Minister for Culture, Minister Cai Wu to sign a new five year cultural agreement that will see closer co-operation between our two nations.
This new five year programme will allow cultural exchanges flourish between the UK and China with our leading artists and organisations including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Northern Ballet, Shakespeare’s Globe and Sadler’s Wells touring China in the coming years. In return we have seen some fantastic examples of Chinese culture coming to the UK, from a heavy metal version of Coriolanus at this year’s Edinburgh Festival to the current exhibition of Masterpieces of Chinese Painting at the V&A.
Tomorrow promoting tourism is high on my agenda, and I’ll be joining VisitBritain highlighting why Britain is a truly GREAT place to visit.