The municipality is hoping a partnership with the Chinese city of Zhuhai will be a great opportunity to increase Halifax’s economic development.
Last Thursday, the standing committee for Community Planning and Economic Development passed a motion to move forward with an economic partnership agreement with Zhuhai.
According to a staff report
, the Chinese city is considered a good economic partner because of its existing relationship with Halifax. Zhuhai currently has an exchange program with Saint Mary’s University.
Zhuhai is part of the Guandong province, which has similar economic sectors as Nova Scotia. It’s also close to the Port of Shenzhen, which is a major partner with the Port of Halifax.
China is currently the third-largest seafood export market for Nova Scotia, with investments in seafood processing facilities in Eastern Passage, Shelburne and Clarke’s Harbour.
This type of business development and networking is what deputy mayor Steve Craig sees as a gateway to strengthening Nova Scotia’s ties to China.
“We need to work beyond our shores,” says Craig. “The ability to have someone to phone in municipalities in China and inform us on the economic climate is important if we want to grow Halifax’s trade with international markets.”
It’s hoped that strengthening economic ties with Zhuhai will help HRM meet its goal to increase GDP to $30 billion by 2021.
the partnership, Regional Council will first outline and endorse the agreement and then mayor Mike Savage will present the document to Zhuhai officials on a trip to China that’s expected to take place in June.
Despite both cities expressing an interest, the process will not be immediate. Once an official letter of intent is presented to Zhuhai, Chinese officials must initiate a domestic application process that takes six months.
Currently, Halifax has economic partnership arrangements with Norfolk, Virginia and Aberdeen, Scotland.