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Speech by H.E. Ambassador Liu Xiaoming at the Celebration of the Fifth Anniversary of CCB London's Launch of UK RMB Clearing Services: Enhance Financial Cooperation and Deliver More "Golden Fruits"
CCB London Branch, 7 November 2019

Chairman Tian Guoli,

Sir Charles Bowman,

Sir Douglas Flint,

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Good afternoon!

It is a real delight to join you at the event of double celebration for China Construction Bank. Back in 2014, CCB launched the RMB clearing services here in London. It was one of the outcomes of Premier Li Keqiang's visit to the UK. And it marked the beginning of a new chapter in the history of CCB.

Over the past five years since then, CCB London has achieved remarkable progress, with a total clearing volume of 40 trillion RMB yuan. It is now the largest RMB clearing bank outside Asia. I would like to extend my warmest congratulations to CCB on this major milestone!

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China and the 65th anniversary of China-UK diplomatic relationship at the chargé d'affaires level. This is an important year! As we review our progress and look into the future, today's event bears three-fold significance.

First, CCB's achievement bears witness to the ever-deeper and more substantial financial cooperation between China and the UK.

Financial sector is one of the most vigorous and promising in China-UK cooperation. London is a global financial centre. CCB London joins clearing banks in Beijing and New York to make sure that RMB clearing services can be offered during the majority of the working hours in Asia, Europe and North America.

CCB's RMB clearing services has also made London an important platform for RMB offshore transaction between China and other countries. London is now the world's largest RMB offshore trading hub and second largest RMB offshore clearing centre.

Second, CCB's achievement represents a firm step to integrate China's financial sector with the world.

In the past 40 plus years since the beginning of reform and opening up, China has been committed to opening its market and pursuing win-win cooperation at a higher level. The launch and growth of the RMB clearing services in London is an epitome of China's financial sector integrating with and delivering benefits to the world.

Going forward, China will open its services market wider, especially in the financial sector. China is ready to work with all countries, including the UK, to expand investment both ways, and enhance trade and financial exchanges. Through open cooperation, China hopes to expand common interests with other countries and achieve win-win results.

Third, CCB's achievement heralds a promising prospect of RMB internationalisation.

As the market-based reform in RMB exchange rate regime deepens, RMB is increasingly becoming a global currency and has been accepted by more and more trans-national enterprises.

Seventy-four financial institutions, including HSBC, Standard Chartered, Barclays, J.P. Morgan, Citibank, Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Banco Central do Brasil, have all opened accounts with CCB London, who has customers in every corner of the world.

Today, RMB is the world's seventh most traded currency and the ninth largest foreign exchange trading currency. It is playing an increasingly important role in the global currency system.

Looking forward, I think China and the UK should make the following three efforts in our financial cooperation:

First, our two countries should remain committed to open cooperation.

Economic globalisation is irreversible. Unilateralism and protectionism are double-edged swords that will hurt both ways. "Zero-sum" game and "beggar-thy-neighbour" approach will only backfire.

China and the UK should stand on the right side of history. We should be active participants and firm supporters of globalisation. We should engage in open cooperation at a higher level and work to build an open world economy.

Second, China and the UK should take the lead in innovation.

The development of new technologies in recent years has changed the business models in the financial sector.

China and the UK are known for active FinTech innovation and entrepreneurship. We both have a large market and strong growth momentum in this aspect.

In particular, the UK has rich experience in consumer finance, digital banking and big data analysis. China has a huge market, advanced mobile payment and inclusive finance. Cooperation between our two countries on FinTech innovation will enable us to provide broader, more in-depth and more efficient financial services. It will also give a strong boost to the overall China-UK financial cooperation.

Third, China and the UK should deliver more mutually-beneficial outcomes.

Our two countries are natural partners in building the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). BRI development needs not only cooperation on investment and financing. It also needs a wide range of supportive financial services.

The UK has rich experience in financial operation and mature management mechanisms. China is strong in infrastructure, connectivity and financing. China and the UK could enhance cooperation on BRI in the areas of investment, financing, insurance and green finance and in third markets. Complementing our strengths and engaging in win-win cooperation will enable our two countries to deliver more benefits to our peoples and the people of the world.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

History sheds light on our way ahead, and we must forever march on.

The fourth plenary session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China was concluded a few days ago. This important meeting once again sends the message that China will remain committed to the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and will continue to contribute to world peace, development, prosperity and progress.

As we speak, the second China International Import Expo is being held in Shanghai. President Xi Jinping delivered an important speech at the opening ceremony. He proposed to work together to build an open world economy through cooperation, with innovation and for mutual benefits. He also announced five measures to bring about opening-up at an even higher level. He further emphasized China's determination to shoulder its responsibility as a big country and promote common development in the world through open cooperation.

All these will create more opportunities for development and provide broader space for cooperation between countries of the world.

I sincerely hope that the financial communities of China and the UK will seize these opportunities and enhance cooperation. I hope you will open up new prospects for China-UK economic and financial collaboration, and deliver more "golden fruits" in China-UK "Golden Era"!

In conclusion, I wish CCB great success! And I wish CCB London and its RMB clearing services new progress!

Thank you!

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