TWO British firms are looking to create two assembly plants in Basildon potentially creating hundreds of jobs, a trade mission to China has revealed.

Two councillors and two officers, from Basildon Council, have just returned from the trip they believe has started a new era of co-operation between the district and the world’s most populated nation.

The group heard talk of the two companies, who would use equipment made in the Changzhou area of Chinacoing, coming to Basildon.

The details are confidential.

Stephen Horgan, the council’s regeneration cabinet member, assistant cabinet member David Dadds, chief executive Bala Mahendran and business support manager Birgit Stach made the journey.

Mr Mahendran said: “The Chinese economy is growing quickly and is predicted to keep growing in the foreseeable future.

“Doing business with China requires time to develop trust and relationships, and councils often play a vital role in being the link between businesses from each country.

“This trip was a great opportunity to explore new markets and develop relationships on a local level in China right now, as quite a few UK local authorities are also doing.”

It cost around £8,000 of taxpayers’ money for the flights and accommodation for the eight-day visit.

The council said its delegation also made contacts with high level politicians from the Changzhou government and signed a letter of intent dedicated to economic co-operation.

A delegation from Changzhou is expected to visit Basildon next spring for more talks.

Mr Horgan said the fact the council was invited, showed how important Basildon was considered as a place of business.