May’s visit signals new opportunities for China-UK relations

By Li Xuanmin Source:Global Times Published: 2018/1/31 19:53:39

Economic and trade relations between China and the UK have developed quickly from a modest base, and UK Prime Minister Theresa May's ongoing visit to China will bring new opportunities for both countries, a UK business representative told the Global Times on Wednesday.

The two nations have seen "exciting business opportunities" emerge in healthcare, smart cities, green technology and financial services, where UK companies enjoy exponential growth in China "as the country moves up the value chain and Chinese investors benefit from the UK's free and open business environment," said Guy Drury, the chief representative in China for the Confederation of British Industry.

For example, UK pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca invested more than 750 million pounds in China in 2017, covering wide range of areas related to health, digital-medicine and research and development, according to Drury.

Similar opportunities for cooperation will persist and expand further, as China's economy transitions from labor-intensive and export-led to technology- and innovation-driven, he added.

Also, "supporting the China-proposed Belt and Road initiative and positioning the UK's financial services sector and the City of London at the heart of future growth and cooperation will figure strongly" on the agenda during May's visit to China, Drury stressed.

The rise of global trade protectionism, as well as uncertainties resulting from the UK's exit from the EU, have cast shadows over bilateral relations, he noted.

But "the UK will always look to work with China to reduce domestic trade barriers, tackle protectionism and create a level playing field for its companies in China," he said. Also, building up a regular, long-term dialogue through meetings and events such as the China-UK CEO Council and wider bilateral business discussions are crucial platforms to tackle these issues, he noted.

China's Ministry of Commerce announced on Wednesday that the China-UK CEO Council was set up the same day to "facilitate economic cooperation" between the two countries. The council includes 15 Chinese companies, such as China Construction Bank, China National Petroleum Corp and China Telecom, as well as 16 UK firms, including Jaguar Land Rover, Aston Martin and Arup, covering sectors such as finance, energy, vehicles and telecommunications.

"The UK and China are leading world economies and I am confident that despite some occasional challenges to their economic and trading relationship they will continue to see prosperity and growth," Drury said.

Posted in: ECONOMY

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