Mayor Ben Houchen is on a trade mission to promote the Tees Valley to countries in the Far East.
The trade mission will include a visit to Thailand with South Tees Development Corporation board members, including Vice Chairs Cllr Sue Jeffrey and Steve Gibson, to hold talks with three banks over the future of the former SSI steelworks site.
The Redcar site, located on the 4,500-acre South Tees Development Corporation, is currently owned by the Thai banks following the closure of SSI steelworks in 2015.
Mayor Houchen said: “I am confident the talks with the Thai banks will speed up the process of acquiring the SSI land so we can get spades in the ground as quickly as possible.
“The sooner we can, the sooner we will see industry, jobs and tangible change for the region.
“Compulsory purchase proceedings have begun in parallel to this meeting, however it is hoped these will not have to be used.”
As CEO of the development corporation, Jonathan Bretherton – pictured above with Mr Houchen – has been leading negotiations with the banks on behalf of the board.
Mr Bretherton said: “I am pleased that board members will join me in Thailand at this latest and important stage of our negotiations.
“Acquiring this land will be a vital step towards the transformation of the development corporation and the whole of the Tees Valley.
“In the meantime, my team has received over 100 serious inquiries from investors around the world.”
The mayor will also be leading a delegation, including representatives from PD Ports and Bulkhaul, to Japan and South Korea to push the region’s key investment opportunities.
The region already has strong links with Japan and South Korea with major employers Nifco, Fujifilm, Mitsubishi, Lucite and Whessoe playing a huge role in the region’s economy.
The mayor will be visiting the headquarters of these firms to discuss future investment opportunities.
Mayor Houchen added: “The Tees Valley has always been outward-looking, making our mark on the globe with a history of discovery, industry and innovation – and we aren’t planning to stop.
“We have already seen significant investment from this part of the world and I’m set to visit a number of businesses and potential investors to discuss how their Tees Valley sites can grow.
“As Brexit looms next year, it’s more important than ever that we seek new opportunities across the globe.”