15/06/2005

Belfast signs 'sister city' agreement with Hefei

Belfast City Council has signed an historic ‘Sister Cities’ agreement with the Chinese city of Hefei.

The agreement, which is the culmination of an eight-year relationship fostered by Belfast City Council, was signed during a two-day visit by a senior delegation from Hefei, led by the city’s Mayor, Mr Guo Wanqing.

It is expected that the sister city relationship will help strengthen civic, commercial and cultural ties between Belfast and Hefei.

Ahead of the signing, Councillor Michael Browne, Chairman of the Council’s Economic Development Sub-Committee, said: “We have been working hard to forge relationships with China for the last eight years, as there can be absolutely no doubt that China represents a massive opportunity for local businesses.

“It is our objective to enable local companies to use our relationship with Hefei to minimise the legal and regulatory obstacles to the Chinese market."

The agreement will aim to foster a partnership on a range of issues of mutual benefit and interest, including business development and investment, education and training. It also will help strengthen links between the Council and the city’s Chinese community in Northern Ireland.

Recognising the importance of China in the global economy, Belfast City Council began developing links with the world’s largest emerging market in 1997, undertaking its first formal visit to Hefei three years later. Following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in August 2000, the two cities have now taken their relationship to the next, most formal level, with the signing of a ‘Sister Cities Agreement’.

During the visit, the seven-strong delegation from Hefei will attend a range of briefings and seminars, and meet representatives of Belfast City Council, Investment Belfast, Invest NI, the city’s education sector, the Chinese Chamber of Commerce and the Chinese Welfare Association.

The delegation also will visit Delta Packaging, the first local company to establish a joint venture in China.

Later this year, the Council will be launching an export development programme for local companies seeking to do business in China.

(SP/MB)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

13 April 2010
Belfast Business Awards On Way
Local businesses successes will be celebrated at a prestigious business awards later this month. UTV's Marc Mallett (pictured) is looking forward to hosting the Belfast Business Awards which will take place in the City Hall on Thursday 29 April. Space NK.apothecary founder Nicky Kinnaird will co-host the awards alongside the UTV presenter.
09 June 2009
Lord Mayor Invites Belfast to 'Look Up' For Carnival Fun
Belfast's Lord Mayor, Councillor Naomi Long, is inviting the people of the city to 'Look Up' at the stars. The Belfast City Carnival will help celebrate the International Year of Astronomy, when one of the highlights of the city`s cultural calendar takes to the streets on Saturday 27 June.
13 August 2015
Man Killed In East Belfast Shooting
A murder investigation has been launched following the fatal shooting of a man in east Belfast. The victim, who has been named as Kevin McGuigan Sr, 50, was shot in the Comber Court area of the Short Strand just before 9pm on Wednesday evening. He was taken to hospital by ambulance and was pronounced dead a short time later.
13 August 2015
North Belfast Fire Started 'Deliberately'
A fire at an old factory site in north Belfast was started deliberately, according to the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS). Residents had to ensure their windows and doors were closed as firefighters were putting out the blaze in the Oldpark Road area on Wednesday.
07 August 2015
New East Belfast Bus Lanes Opened
New bus lanes have been opened in east Belfast as part of the Belfast Rapid Transit (BRT) scheme. The new bus lanes, located between Sandown Road and Knock Road, will be introduced on 10 August.
05 August 2015
Petrol Bombs Thrown At Property In North Belfast
Petrol bombs have been thrown at a flat in north Belfast. The incident, which caused the property to go on fire, occurred in the Skegoneill Road area on Tuesday night. No-one was in the property at the time.
05 August 2015
Security Alert In West Belfast Ends
A security alert in west Belfast has ended. Residents in the South Link area had to be evacuated from their homes overnight following reports of a suspicious object. A leisure centre was opened for local people to use. Police later said "nothing untoward" was found. The alert ended at around 4am on Wednesday.
04 August 2015
Suspicious Object Found In West Belfast
A suspicious object has been discovered during a security in west Belfast, according to the police. A small explosive device was found in the Andersonstown Road area on Tuesday. Police and Army bomb disposal experts attended the scene. The device has been taken away for further examination. The roads have been reopened.
04 August 2015
Decision To Close Belfast Benefits Shop Slammed
The decision by the Social Security Agency to close its Benefits shop in Belfast has been slammed by Sinn Féin. The shop, based in Castle Court, is used by many people to seek employment and to find out what benefits they are entitled to.
03 August 2015
Woman Dies In House Fire In West Belfast
A mother-of-three has died in a house fire in west Belfast. The fire, at a house in Hazel View in the Lagmore area, was reported at around 5am on Sunday. Jennifer Dornan, 30, was found dead at the scene. Alliance Lagan Valley MLA Trevor Lunn has offered his condolences.
31 July 2015
Investigation Launched After Man's Body Found In Belfast Club
An investigation has been launched following the discovery of a man's body in a commercial property in Belfast city centre on Thursday afternoon. Police have described the man's death as "sudden". According to reports the man was aged 59 and found at a health and leisure club popular with the gay community.
31 July 2015
Equality Commission Marks 25th Annual Belfast Pride Festival
Northern Ireland has seen many positive changes, but there remains "some was to go before all are afforded the equality of treatment, and the respect, to which every human being is entitled", the Equality Commission NI has said on the eve of the city's 25th annual Pride Parade.
30 July 2015
Images Released After Man Attacked In South Belfast
A 36-year-old man has been attacked in south Belfast. The incident occurred at an off-licence in the Ormeau Road area at around 7.45pm on Saturday 30 May. Police said they will be releasing images after the man was assaulted by three males. The victim required hospital treatment, however his injuries were not life-threatening.
29 July 2015
Nine Murals To Be Removed In East Belfast
Nine paramilitary murals are being removed and redesigned in a major reimaging project in east Belfast. Charter NI secured £30,000 funding from the Northern Ireland Housing Executive's Community Cohesion budget to oversee the project in the Lord Street area.
29 July 2015
Pipe Bomb Found In North Belfast
A pipe bomb has been discovered in north Belfast, according to the police. A suspicious object was found in the Rosapenna Street area on Wednesday morning. Police and Army bomb squad officers attended the scene and carried out tests. All roads have been re-opened and residents have returned to their homes.