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Home > Ambassador Liu > Remarks
Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Liu Xiaoming at the Reception to Mark 50 Years of Britain's First Dedicated Container Terminal at the Port of Felixstowe: China-UK Cooperation Sets Sail Towards A Brighter Future
Cutty Sark, 23 June 2017
2017/06/24

Dr Thérèse Coffey,

Mr Kitack Lim,

Mr Eric Ip,

Mr Clemence Cheng,

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Good evening.

It is a true pleasure to join you for the 50th anniversary celebration of Britain's first container terminal.

Here we are on board the famous Cutty Sark. What a perfect choice of venue to mark the 50th anniversary and talk about China-UK exchange and cooperation! I interpret three fold significance in it.

First of all, Cutty Sark offers a unique historic vantage point.

  • 150 years ago, Cutty Sark took part in the tea race from China to Britain. This fastest tea clipper of its day surely made its mark in the earliest trade between China and the UK.
  • 100 years later, Britain's first dedicated container terminal at Felixstowe marked the beginning of sea-land transportation in the international shipping industry. A new page was turned for China-UK business cooperation.

Second, from Cutty Sark to Felixstowe, the shipping industry has witnessed the splendid achievements in China-UK business cooperation.

Since the first container handling facility was put in place, the port of Felixstowe has experienced rapid growth. Today, it is not only Britain's largest but also one of the key container hubs in Europe.

Moreover, Felixstowe has witnessed the boom of China-UK business cooperation over half a century.

  • In 1989, the first container ship of China Ocean Shipping Company arrived at Felixstowe.
  • In 2015, the CSCL Globe, the world's largest container ship over 400 meters in length, arrived at Felixstowe on its maiden voyage from China's Qingdao. I had the pleasure to board the CSCL Globe and witnessed that historical moment.

These landmarks highlight the importance of the Felixstowe in China-UK trade. They also speak volumes about the rapid growth of the extensive and ever closer economic and trade relations between our two countries.

Third, the strong growth of Felixstowe promises an even brighter future of China-UK business cooperation.

  • Last year, trade between China and Britain totalled 74.3 billion US dollars. That was nearly 250 times of the trade figure in the early days of our diplomatic ties.
  • This year, bilateral trade is expected to exceed 80 billion.
  • Notably, 55% of the cargo of China-UK trade are handled at Felixstowe.

In the coming years, I believe the Port of Felixstowe will continue to be UK's trade, transportation and logistics hub. And I look forward to Felixstowe making even greater contribution to China-UK business cooperation.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

This year marks the 45th anniversary of China-UK Ambassadorial diplomatic relations. It is also a year to consolidate the "Golden Era" of our bilateral ties.

Right now, we are in the interesting time full of volatility, full of changes, and full of adjustments. This is true for the world, for Europe and for Britain as well.

But I want to stress this:

  • Whatever changes may take place, the shared commitment of both nations to maintain the steady growth of China-UK relations remains unchanged.
  • Whatever adjustments may take place, the common aspirations of all sectors of both countries to advance China-UK cooperation remain unchanged.

This year also marks the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China.

For two decades, the Central Government of China has been firmly committed to the principles of "One Country Two Systems", "Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong" and "high degree of autonomy". We have made sure that the Constitution and the Basic Law are consistently and strictly adhered to.

Thanks to this strong commitment,

  • Hong Kong has maintained prosperity and stability.
  • Hong Kong remains a global center of finance, trade and shipping.
  • And Hong Kong continues to be the freest and one of the most competitive economies in the world.

A best example in this regard is the thriving business of the Hutchison Whampoa.

Going forward, the Chinese Government will continue to take firm steps to ensure Hong Kong's long term prosperity and stability, while supporting its economic development and external exchanges.

Before its return, Hong Kong has long been a historical question between China and Britain. After its return, Hong Kong became an important bridge and bond linking our two countries.

I sincerely hope that in the years to come Hong Kong will continue to play a constructive role between China and Britain and contribute positive energy to this important relationship.

I am pleased to see that the business of Hutchison Whampoa in Britain has been growing rapidly in recent years. You are now a "golden brand" for the cooperation between China and the UK and between Hong Kong and Britain.

I look forward to your continued success and greater contribution to closer Hong Kong-UK cooperation and to the overall China-UK relations.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

"In a world of complex changes, we should all the more summon up our courage, beat the drum, steady the ship and set sail."

I am sure that with our concerted efforts, China-UK business cooperation will produce more "golden fruits" in the "Golden Era".

I am confident that the giant ship of China-UK relations will sail towards a brighter future.

Now I invite you to join me in a toast:

To the prosperity of the Port of Felixstowe.

To the continued strong growth of Hutchison Whampoa.

And to the "Golden Era" of China-UK relations.

Cheers!

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