Manston- the gateway to China!

Kent International Airport
Kent International Airport

by business editor Trevor Sturgess

An exhibition and conference centre that will promote China could be built at Manston, it has been reported.

According to Property, Commercial Group Properties (CGP) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation to set up a joint venture.

Caption: Kent International Airport would be near the development

It would build, fund and let the centre at Manston Business Park, close to Kent International Airport, as part of the so-called China Gateway project.

However, it remains unclear whether non-Chinese organisations would be able to use the complex. Kent officials have long talked about the need for a dedicated exhibition and conference centre but various proposals have come to nothing.

Under the latest plan,Chinese organisations, provinces and cities would be able to use the exhibition, conference, meeting and office facilities in the centre, perhaps securing seats at the centre for specific periods each year.

The report says the centre would promote "Chinese business in all its myriad guises" to the UK and the rest of the European Union, as well as promoting "cultural and visionary entrepreneurial concepts," arts and culture, tourism, and the benefits of investment into China.

CGP, which for some time has been promoting a centre for Chinese businesses in Manston, would manage, promote, develop and maintain the proposed complex, or possibly outsource those functions to a subsidiary or other company.

Last year, Thanet council approved controversial plans to turn 77 acres of Manston business park into a warehouse and distribution centre.

CGP aimed to create a Chinese electronics warehouse that could bring hundreds of jobs to the area, after signing a deal with Chinamex, an investment company backed by the Chinese Government. Opponents, claim the proposal would damage the environment.

CGP was unavailable for comment.

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