The Isle of Man has this week hosted a visit by leading figures from China’s shipping industry, as part of an ongoing programme of engagement to strengthen relations with one of the world’s economic superpowers.
Mr Sun Feng, Vice President of the China Classification Society (CCS), and Mr Zhang Hui, Managing Director of CCS Europe, travelled to the Island to learn more about our thriving maritime sector.
The visit was a direct result of contacts made by Chief Minister Allan Bell MHK and members of the Isle of Man delegation who visited China last month.
Mr Bell met Mr Sun in Beijing on 10 March after delivering a keynote speech at an official function organised by the China Ship Owners’ Association.
The two held positive discussions and were able to pursue a number of issues during follow up talks in the Isle of Man this week.
The Chief Minister said: ‘I was delighted that Mr Sun and Mr Zhang accepted my invitation to come to the Isle of Man to experience first-hand the strength and depth of our shipping industry. The timing of their visit, so soon after our initial contact, demonstrates their interest in the Island’s business proposition. It also underlines the value of our delegation to China and the benefits of making personal contacts.’
He added: ‘China is on course to become the largest economy in the world within the next few years. There are huge opportunities to benefit from that growth, so it is important for us to build and maintain friendships. The Isle of Man Ship Registry has an excellent reputation for quality and service and is well placed to grow its business in the Far East. Our visitors were able to see for themselves the unique advantages the Island can offer in this sector.’
As well as talking to the Chief Minister, Mr Sun and Mr Zhang also met John Shimmin MHK, Minister for Economic Development, Dick Welsh, Director of the Isle of Man Ship Registry, and prominent members of the Island’s maritime industry at a lunch presentation hosted by the Isle of Man Shipping Association.
The visitors took the opportunity to learn more about the Isle of Man’s status as a leading international business centre and its position among the top 15 shipping registers in the world in terms of tonnage.