Job creation in the UK is one of my local key priorities, and a national priority for the Coalition. Already over 1m extra jobs have been created since the Coalition took over.
During our visit to Taiwan I wanted to build relationships with Taiwanese government and businesses that have created jobs in the UK, and have the potential to create thousands more. We visited businesses such as GW Instek who provide security surveillance services for Manchester Royal Infirmary, and HMP Leeds to name just a few of their UK projects.
This compliments the local work to create and sustain jobs and growth in Manchester – like the July ‘Manchester Jobs Summit’ I hosted to bring the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg to Manchester to talk to local businesses leaders about job creation, offering more apprenticeships and ideas to boost growth in Manchester.
Today I met with President Ma as part of building those relationships. The meeting was covered widely by the local press.
He took the time to meet us and we discussed the deepening relationship our two countries have. He explained how Taiwan’s investment in the UK is their second highest in Europe, and trade reached a record $6,500 million last year. Youth exchanges are now popular too.
From just 36 Taiwanese students studying in Britain in 1976, the UK is now the second most favoured location for overseas study after the USA – with 15,000 students studying in Universities across the UK. This sustains thousands of jobs in the UK, including many in Manchester.
Our visit to Taiwan is primarily to learn more about the regeneration benefits of light rail, but it is clear that there is a real appetite for British expertise in heavy rail, nuclear technology, and renewable electricity technologies. Several agreements have been signed over the last couple of years which will mean more jobs in the UK as a result.
Whisky is a serious thing in Taiwan, in fact it is the second largest by value in the world. Japanese whisky is doing well in Taiwan due to historical ties. Now Scotland is rightly famous for the quality and variety of whisky produced, and has a strong presence in the market, but there are clearly more opportunities for sales here and the creation and protection of jobs in the UK.
Taiwan’s tourist industry is currently small, but developing at pace due to the removal of the need for visas. It is in fact the UK that is benefitting from Taiwanese tourism.
As President Ma said of Taiwanese visitors to the UK ‘We love the UK history and are serious shoppers!”