Local MEP Daniel Dalton took the opportunity of a debate on EU-China relations in the European Parliament to highlight the West Midlands strong ties with the Far East.
Dalton spoke of the region’s unique export surplus with China and the lessons it has learnt on how to work with the Chinese.
In a debate on building closer ties with China, Dalton stressed that whilst the nation’s economic size should not distract us from the problems with human rights and democracy in Beijing, greater dialogue, not lecturing, was the way forward.
He said: “The UK is China's number one investment destination in Europe and the West Midlands is the only area of the UK to have an export surplus with China, nearly £3bn in 2014.
"Iconic quality British brands from the West Midlands such as Jaguar Land Rover and JCB are attracting Chinese buyers in record numbers, and this has led to greater links with China across our region, including the establishment of direct flights between Birmingham and Beijing.
"Human rights are a significant concern in China, however lecturing them on this is counter-productive, constructive and respectful dialogue is the way forward.
"Ultimately, opening up China politically will benefit everyone, especially the Chinese."
Greater Birmingham alone has also secured 47 Chinese foreign direct investment projects during the last 10 years, creating almost 2,700 new jobs and safeguarding a further 1,700.
Investors have included automotive giants Changan and SAIC Motor Corporation, plus NVC Lighting, China’s largest lighting manufacturer.
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