Sean Anstee is the Conservative leader of Trafford Council and the councillor for Bowdon. He is in China with a delegation representing the Northern Powerhouse, along with Chancellor George Osborne
The Northern Powerhouse has arrived in China.
George Osborne, flanked by senior ministers, business and the leaders of cities across the North, are here to promote our shared ambition for a super-connected, virtual city.
Reaction has been overwhelmingly positive and it's easy to understand why. The Northern Powerhouse brings together the city-regions of Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds and Newcastle to form a powerful and globally significant force. We are a Powerhouse of 11 million people which to put into context is a virtual city larger than London or Tokyo.
The northern economy is worth £290bn, and if it was a country it would be the 21st largest in the world and we have bucket loads of potential for this to grow even greater still. That's what grabs the attention of the international community.
Collectively, our city-regions are working together to ensure our transport infrastructure is fit for purpose and integrated across the whole of the north. This will then connect our populations and businesses and help to capitalise on our strengths including advanced manufacturing, logistics, life sciences and digital.
Bringing in our world class universities as well and you can see how the Powerhouse will be powered and we can sow the seeds to rebalance the UK economy and improve living standards.
The similarity with China is striking, as they undertake the same mission to rebalance by empowering the West.
Here, it is working. The delegation this week has sought investment but also knowledge to bring back home and turn the Northern Powerhouse into a reality.