After a very hectic travel schedule the group moved to the Department of Sichuan Chamber of Commerce in Chengdu City where we were hosted by our old friend Scott Zhu, Vice Manager of International Department with SCOCIE (Sichuan Chamber of Commerce for Import-Export). After presentation by the Chamber focused on our ABOC (Asian Business Opportunities Committee) we heard from Peter White of the LEDC who gave a great overview of the City of London’s economic advantages. We later heard from the President of SCOCIE, Li Ming who then invited us to hear from the numerous business leaders who had gathered to tell us about their interest in Canada and in particular London. Over 20 companies were on hand including representatives of the Columbian and Belgian Chambers of Commerce in Chengdu.
This meeting was designed to expand on the relationships and the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that was signed last November by London Chamber President Joaquim Balles.
The question period from SCOCIE members focused on cooperation between our two organizations as we heard from companies involved in Oil and Gas, Petrochemicals, Food Processing Real Estate, Project Development and Tendering.
In the afternoon our group split as the Mayor, LEDC Head Peter White and I had accepted a formal invitation from Western University to join them for a ceremonial dinner with their counterparts from West China Hospital in Chengdu. With very short notice, team member Andrea Feddema of Ernst and Young stayed back to represent the Chamber at an Education Roundtable with members of SCOCIE. To absolutely no one’s surprise she acquitted herself most capably and her performance went a long way in strengthening relations between Western, the London Chamber and SCOCIE.
Suffice it to say that our ceremonial dinner was to say the least a gastronomic extravaganza. Our Chengdu hosts simply outdid themselves.
April 24, Chengdu:
While the Mayor was asked to sign a formal MOU along with Western and Sichuan University, the balance of Team London moved over to the Jinjiang Hotel where we were hosted by the President of the CCPIT (China Counsel for the Promotion of International Trade). Here our entire team had an opportunity to share their formal presentations with over 50 members of CCPIT. Peter White of the LEDC kicked us off followed by more presentations by myself, Lily Wang of ABOC, Andrea Feddema on behalf of Ernst and Young and Barry Cleaver of Siskind’s the Law Firm. Midway through, we were joined again by the Mayor and Grant Hopcroft, the former offering a warm invitation to all to join us for the World Figure Skating Championships in London in 2013, while the latter was scribing copious notes for follow up and publication. Incidentally, let there be little doubt as to the value and contribution that the two City team members, Hopcroft and Marian Hughes bring to the table. As you watch these two work until all hours of the day and witness the quality support they provide to the Mayor and the rest of the team, I can’t think of two better individuals I would rather have with us on this mission.
After our presentations, I along with the Chair of CCPIT in Chengdu had the great privilege to sign a formal MOU with the CCPIT which centred on the promotion of communications on economic information between our two communities and continued exchanges between London and Chengdu that will include exhibitions, seminars, continued economic talks and promotion of each other’s economic and trade benefits.
Our entire team had an opportunity to witness the formal signing and took part in a frenzied photo opportunity. Our Chinese counterparts take these formal signings quite seriously and go to extreme efforts to display their care and interest in our community.
I will not go into detail on the extravagant luncheon that was hosted by the CCPIT Chair because it would take me at least three pages to describe it. But let’s just say we ate a lot of foods that we had either never heard of and most were suitably spiced. Did I mention we were in Sichuan Province!!!!
Day four in Chongqing to follow….stay tuned