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China delegation signs Sheffield trade accord

18 December 2008

Chinese officials from Harbin Electric Company (HEC) have signed a pioneering multi-million pound trade agreement to buy large-scale engineering products from Forgemasters.

The unique trade accord signing, which pledges future orders of specialist cast and forged steel products to be placed Sheffield Forgemasters International Ltd (SFIL), was hosted by the Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Jane Bird, at Sheffield Town Hall. 

Officials from SFIL and HEC signed the accord with attendance from Zhao Kefei, Party Secretary of China's Heilongjiang Provincial Government, Jane Bird, John Mothersole, Chief executive of Sheffield City Council, Paul Scriven, Leader of Sheffield City Council, and Renate Halton, SYITC International Trade Manager at Sheffield Chamber of Commerce.

David Bunney, General Sales Manager at SFIL, said: "Signing the accord with our colleagues from Harbin Electric Company is a great step forward and reinforces an already strong trading partnership between SFIL and China. 

"It is anticipated that over the next four years, business between Forgemasters and Harbin Electric Company could exceed three million pounds per year as a result of this agreement."

The accord builds on Sheffield's expanding trade ties with China with other organisations including Sheffield International Venues, international law firm DLA Piper and Sheffield United FC - which owns the Chengdu Blades football club - all demonstrating strong business links with China.

South Yorkshire International Trade Centre international trade manager, Renate Halton, said: "Sheffield Chamber chief executive Nigel Tomlinson described China as a ‘land of opportunity' back in 2006 when the Chamber was appointed the UK Counsellor for the EU-China Partenariat event - a flagship activity in the European Commission's strategy for economic cooperation with China. 

"The Chamber very much still holds this view two years on as China remains one of the world's fastest growing economies. There are a wealth of opportunities for UK companies in China and, with the right support, China can be a rewarding market for South Yorkshire companies.

"Forgemasters is leading by example - this new agreement shows what opportunities are out there for the city business region." 

The accord will see SFIL produce a range of large-scale complex engineering products for civil nuclear, steam and hydro power generation plants in China.