City and County councils in new international links with Chinese city and province

Published: Friday, 20th July 2018

Oxford City and Oxfordshire County Council have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Langfang City People's Government and Hebei Province in China to promote business cooperation.

The Lord Mayor of Oxford, Councillor Colin Cook, signed the MoU on behalf of the City of Oxford and Oxfordshire at Oxford Town Hall on 4 July 2018. The MoU promotes cooperation and collaboration in a number of areas to stimulate business and economic growth by offering practical information and support to enterprises wanting to set up and operate in each other’s administrative boundaries and areas of jurisdiction. 

The focus will be in the areas of higher education, internships and apprenticeships, strategic planning and place making, trade and investment promotion as well as promoting collaboration on specific projects. A joint working group will be set up to develop work plans for implementation of the MoU.

Building sustainable and liveable cities will be crucial in the transition to a fossil-free society worldwide. Oxfordshire and Hebei have agreed to share and develop knowledge on solutions and methods on building smart cities underpinned by strategic planning and place making principles as well as sustainable construction and urban development.

Cllr Colin Cook, Lord Mayor of Oxford, said: "I’m delighted to have signed this MoU with Langfang City and Hebei province, which underscores Oxford and Oxfordshire’s international outlook and appeal, particularly in terms of education, innovation and promoting clean, green and sustainable rural and urban environments. China's long-running urbanisation has led to major planning, growth and environmental challenges. There is now a growing interest in developing smart and sustainable cities in China, and Oxford and Oxfordshire are seen as a leader in this field.”

Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, said: “Oxford is a world leading city and looks to other places for inspiration while sharing its experiences and knowledge so that other areas in the world can benefit from innovations like low and zero-emission zones. 

“This August, in partnership with Oxford University and Oxford City, we are supporting a number of students from the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, and Global Leadership and Future Cities programme and asking them to do a piece of work around air quality, transport modelling and place making. This shows that we are already moving forward with the ambitions of the MOU.”

The MoU was signed during a visit to Oxford by a delegation from Hebei which included the Vice Governor of Hebei, Mr Zhang Gujiang, the Deputy Mayor of Langfang Municipal Government, Mr Wang Kaijun, the Deputy Mayor of Boding Municipal Government, Mr Zhang Zhikui, and a number of senior provincial government officials. Cllr Gill Sanders was also present representing the County council.