History was made as Wolverhampton set about establishing an official city partnership with Anqing in China. As part of Wolverhampton Business Week, senior figures from the city council hosted their Chinese counterparts at a Civic Centre reception.City of Wolverhampton Council Leader, Councillor Roger Lawrence, and Anqing Municipal People’s Government Deputy Secretary-General, Ms Ye, put pen to paper on a ‘Memorandum of Understanding on Establishing a City Partnership through friendly discussions’.

It means the two cities will exchange ideas and cooperate in the fields of economics, trade, science & technology, culture, education, health and personnel to promote mutual prosperity and development in accordance with the principles of equality and mutual benefit.

Councillor Lawrence said: “There are common threads that tie our two cities together and we look forward to forging a strong partnership based on mutual understanding, cooperation and support. I hope on behalf of the City of Wolverhampton and its people this is just the start of a blossoming relationship between our two countries and one that benefits all of our citizens. The City of Wolverhampton is a partner that makes things happen. We are ambitious to grow and very much open for business. I look forward to seeing the ties between our two cities and countries strengthen even further.”

Ms Ye, added: “We are honoured and delighted to visit Wolverhampton during Business Week. “It is an important beginning in the development and cooperation between Anqing and the City of Wolverhampton. We will have wider collaboration in education, culture, business and health. There are lots of similarities between our two cities and it was very nice to talk with the Mayor, Leader and Managing Director. I think the friendship between the British and Chinese people will be deepened now we have signed the Memorandum of Understanding.”

The relationship has been forged with the help of the Midlands Engine for Growth.

Anqing is located in the southwestern part of the Anhui province, a short flight from Shanghai.

During Business Week the ten-strong party of visiting civic and business leaders will network and exchange ideas, with a view to entering into future investment and partnership opportunities in Wolverhampton.

During their four-day visit, a business tour of the city will see them shown around the i54 site, Tata Steel in Wednesfield, and Marston’s Brewery in the city centre.

The delegation will also be attending the Mayor of Wolverhampton, Councillor Barry Findlay’s Investors Reception, Business Week’s flagship Breakfast event, and a meeting with strategic city partners.