Proof that China views Geraldton as a city to be aligned with has been shownthrough a recent successful visit to the country, and an invitation to return to give a presentation at an International Coastal Cities Forum.
Signing the official Memorandum of Agreement to form a Sister City relationship between the City of Greater Geraldton and China’s Zhanjiang City was a highlight of the delegation to China at the end of March.
The other highlight was the signing of a Letter of Intent between Durack Institute of Technology and Guangdong Ocean University (GDOU), signed this end by former City CEO Tony Brun, on behalf of Durack’s Managing Director, Bert Beevers.
The trip was headed by City Mayor, Ian Carpenter; with former City CEO, Tony Brun; Councillor Chris Gabelish; City Economic Development and Foreign Affairs Officer, Han Jie Davis; and local businessman Darren Lee, Managing Director at Market Creations.
The group visited Zhanjiang City in Guangdong Province where the MOA was signed on March 29 by Mr Carpenter and Mr Zhipeng Liang, Deputy Mayor of Zhanjiang City (acting on behalf of Mr Zhongbing Wang, the Mayor of Zhanjiang City); Linfen City in Shanxi Province and Zhoushan City in Zhejiang Province in China.
On the back of this visit, the Deputy Mayor of Linfen City will lead a government delegation to visit Geraldton in coming months, with the aim of identifying investment opportunities in Geraldton and the Mid West, and potentially establishing a strategic relationship with the City.
Mr Carpenter said signing the Sister City agreement would enable further development and commitment from both parties and was a direct result of the City’s international marketing strategy.
“This agreement will allow both Geraldton and Zhanjiang to cooperate across many areas including mining, agriculture, trade, logistics, tourism, education, technology, and more - to promote economic development,” he said.
The Letter of Intent between Durack and GDOU, signed by Mr Zhen He, President of the GDOU in China, will expand international ties and foster cooperation in education and training, and research and technology particularly in the fields of fisheries and marine science.
Geraldton has a strategic partnership with Zhoushan City, a city that enjoys unprecedented development opportunities and is touted to become a ‘Hong Kong’ in China, as a result of the region being declared a Comprehensive Free Trade Zone by the Chinese Government.
Zhejiang Province is the Sister State with Western Australia, and from a trade perspective, the Chinese Government is supportive of multiple sister city ties and the WA Department of State Development is encouraging the City to pursue this path.
Further recognition of Geraldton as an emerging partner is the invitation to the International Coastal Cities Forum 2013 conference by the Mayor of Jinzhou, Liaoning Province, for Geraldton’s Mayor and CEO, Ken Diehm to present on Sound Decision Making Process and Public Participation on June 8.
The Mayor and CEO have accepted the invitation and all travel and accommodation expenses will be covered by the organiser.