George Osborne has taken leaders from across the North of England on a week-long tour of China designed to boost Chinese investment in the region. Nick Forbes, the leader of Newcastle City Council, is among the group of ministers and local leaders on the trip.
The tour will see the delegation travel thousands of miles through China, and will take in Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu.
The Chancellor will use his trip to encourage Chinese companies to come forward and support investment in projects planned for the North of England.
The 'Northern Powerhouse ' - the Chancellor's vision for a northern region with strong manufacturing, science and technology sectors - relies on engagement with local leaders, which is why the Chancellor is accompanied by a group of civic leaders from across the North.
The Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson, leader of Manchester City Council Sir Richard Leese, and leader of Sheffield City Council Julie Dore are all on the trip with Nick Forbes, who will hope to secure investment in Newcastle.
This trip comes after a mixed few weeks for industry in the North. 3rd September marked a high point with the reopening of Newcastle's Armstrong works, the official opening of Hitachi's County Durham train factory and investment in Nissan's Sunderland plant. However the recent news that SSI has halted steel production on Teesside with thousands of jobs at risk has sparked deep concern across the region.
- China's contribution to world GDP was almost 15% in 2014
- Even with slower GDP growth this year, China will represent around a quarter of global growth
- China accounts for 3.6% of UK exports
- China is the UK's 6th biggest goods export market