China’s growth moving in right direction: official of British Chamber of Commerce in China
Published: Aug 30, 2023 09:06 PM
China UK Photo:VCG

China UK Photo:VCG

China's economy isn't as bad as the prevailing mood suggests and growth is moving in the right direction as consumer spending picks up, said Chris Torrens, vice chairman of the British Chamber of Commerce in China, during an interview with Bloomberg on Wednesday.

 "I don't actually buy the notion that the Chinese economy is in serious systemic trouble. Sitting here in Beijing and traveling around China, I'm seeing more consumer spend. We feel things are going in the right direction," Torrens said, noting that consumer spending on services has picked up.

In the first seven months of 2023, retail sales of services increased by 20.3 percent year-on-year, much higher than the growth of retail sales of consumer goods, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on August 15. It was the first time that the NBS released data on retail sales of services.

Speaking on the visit of British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly to China, which began on Wednesday, Torrens said that Cleverly's visit is "a really good step in the right direction we feel. And it also brings the UK on par with European leaders who've been visiting this year."

On Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said that during Cleverly's visit to China, both sides will engage in in-depth discussions on China-UK relations and international and regional issues of common concern. 

To maintain and develop bilateral relations is in the common interests of the people of the two countries, said Wang.

"Now we've got a little more space for communication so that we can move commercial engagement forward. There is a window of engagement in 2023 before the UK election, probably earlier next year," said Torrens.

Cleverly's visit comes at a time when the UK is set to send the largest business delegation to China in four years to attend the China International Fair for Trade in Services in September. The UK will be the Guest Country of Honor of the fair this year.

Analysts said that Cleverly's visit could be the first tentative step toward thawing the icy diplomatic atmosphere that currently exists between the two countries.

Global Times