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Ambassador Liu Xiaoming Attends and Addresses the Third China-UK Economic and Trade Forum

On 25 November, Ambassador Liu Xiaoming attended the Third China-UK Economic and Trade Forum and the Launch Ceremony of “2020 Report on the Development of Chinese Enterprises in the UK” hosted by China Chamber of Commerce in the UK (CCCUK), and delivered a keynote speech entitled Strengthen Confidence and Seize the Opportunities for Win-Win Cooperation. More than 500 guests attended the online event, including Fang Wenjian, Chairman of China Chamber of Commerce in the UK, Alderman William Russell, Lord Mayor of the City of London, Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, Chairman of China-Britain Business Council, Stephen Perry, Chairman of the 48 Group Club, Sir Vince Cable, former Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills of the UK, John Edwards, Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner to China, and representatives from the Chinese and British political sectors, business communities, academia, and media, including Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation of China’s Ministry of Commerce, Hainan Provincial Bureau of International Economic Development, China Energy Research Society, BYD, London Stock Exchange, Standard Chartered, and the University of Cambridge. More than 200 thousand audiences watched the live-stream event.

In his speech, Ambassador Liu noted that as the raging pandemic continues to deal a heavy blow to world economy and poses severe challenges to development, this Forum themed on “Partnership for Future Growth and Prosperity” bears special significance. “How shall we address the current crisis? How to find opportunities in crisis and open up new prospects amid changes? The answer lies in a saying that goes ‘Confidence is more precious than gold’,” said the Ambassador, adding that it is all the more important to strengthen confidence in the following three aspects. The first is to strengthen confidence in economic globalisation. The world is a community where countries share weal and woe and face a common future. It is impossible for countries to retreat to seclusion and isolation. “We must instead make vigorous efforts to adapt and move globalisation in the right direction, and we must address problems arising from globalisation through further development. We cannot let unilateralism and protectionism undermine international rules and order and disrupt the normal progress of globalisation,” said Ambassador Liu.

The second is to strengthen confidence in China’s open development. China is making vigorous efforts to build an open economy at a higher level. From implementing the Foreign Investment Law to expanding the pilot free trade zones, from building Hainan into a free trade port to cutting tariffs several times and shortening the negative list for foreign investment, China is building a market for the world, a market for sharing, and a market for everyone.

The third is to strengthen confidence in China-UK business cooperation. In 2019, trade volume between China and the UK hit a new record of 86.272 billion US dollars. In the first ten months of this year, trade in goods between the two countries increased by 2.8% year-on-year, faster than the growth rate of China’s overall foreign trade in the same period.“With all these concrete actions, the businesses of our two countries have cast their vote of confidence and support for China-UK business cooperation,” said the Ambassador.

Ambassador Liu pointed out that, in 2021, China will enter a new stage of development marked by the 14th Five Year Plan. The UK will also enter a new stage after Brexit. “We should not only strengthen confidence but also seize the opportunities to create a brighter future”, Ambassador said and listed three opportunities that China and the UK should grasp. The first opportunity lies in China’s historic new development pattern.The Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee has decided to accelerate the building of the “dual circulation” growth pattern in which the domestic market will play a leading role and international and domestic markets will reinforce each other. This will provide more cooperation opportunities for businesses of all countries, including the UK.

The second opportunity lies in the important synergy of the development strategies of China and the UK. As important business partners, the two countries have high economic complementarities, deeply integrated interests, and enormous potential for cooperation. “Greater synergy between the development strategies of our two countries will enable better connectivity between our markets and resources, as well as more efficient operation of our businesses. China welcomes UK businesses and investments. And we hope that the UK will continue to foster an open, fair, just and non-discriminatory environment for Chinese businesses here in this country,” said Ambassador Liu.

The third opportunity lies in the shared commitment of China and the UK to green development. Business communities from both countries should seize the opportunities to expand cooperation in green finance, green technology and clean energy, and to be the standard bearers in global green recovery and governance on climate change.

Ambassador Liu extended his congratulations to CCCUK on the launch of the first “Report on the Development of Chinese Enterprises in the UK”. He spoke positively of the extraordinary achievements of Chinese enterprises that have taken root in this country, engaged in win-win cooperation with their UK partners and contributed to the local community, which embodies the confidence of Chinese enterprises in working with the UK business community to advance China-UK cooperation. In closing, Ambassador Liu stressed that “in time of major crisis, the tougher it gets, the greater the need to lift our spirits and strengthen our confidence. In this spirit, we will be able to turn the crisis into opportunities and turn the opportunities into success. Let’s join hands to open up new prospects and write a new chapter for China-UK win-win cooperation!”

Chairman Fang said that Chinese companies had never changed their commitment to the UK market or wavered in their determination to promote China-UK relationship. He hoped that the British government would continue to uphold the principle of open market and free trade, adopt a positive and practical attitude and promote a healthy economic and trade cooperation between China and the UK.

Lord Mayor Alderman Russell noted that Chinese companies have always been playing a significant role in the economic development of the UK. In the post-pandemic world, enhancing international cooperation will be the key to promoting global economic recovery. Climate change and innovation will be the primary areas for UK-China cooperation. The City of London will continue to provide strong support to the Chinese companies in the UK.

Sir Sherard said, climate change is the biggest challenge facing mankind, which calls for a joint effort of all to address. He welcomed the important commitment of both President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Boris Johnson and looked forward to enhanced UK-China cooperation on meeting the challenges of climate change.

Chairman Perry noted that currently China had taken the lead in achieving positive growth and bringing about economic recovery, and had successfully outlined the 14th Five Year Plan. Recently, 15 countries, including China, jointly signed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which was remarkable and attracted the attention of the world. The UK business community should seize the precious opportunities of China’s economic development and take an active part in China’s regional development strategies, such as Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area. The UK should especially enhance cooperation with China in medical and health care, and climate change.

Sir Vince said that Chinese companies in the UK, including Huawei, had made positive contribution to the economic and social development of the UK. He welcomed the Report and positive momentum of Chinese companies in the UK it fully demonstrated.

Trade Commissioner Edwards said that the British government would pay great attention to the opinions and suggestions reflected in the Report. As UK and Chinese economies are highly complementary, the UK stands ready to strengthen cooperation with China to deepen their economic and trade relationship, he said. The investment of the Chinese companies in the UK has contributed to the UK’s employment and economic growth, and the UK will remain open to Chinese investment.

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The Third China-UK Economic and Trade Forum and the Launch Ceremony of “2020 Report on the Development of Chinese Enterprises in the UK” was hosted by CCCUK and supported by the Chinese Embassy in the UK and UK Department for International Trade. The theme of the event was “Partnership for Future Growth and Prosperity”.

At the Forum, CCCUK officially launched the “2020 Report on the Development of Chinese Enterprises in the UK” and invited representatives from Chinese and British governments, business communities, academia, and media to join in the exchanges of views and discussions on “New UK-China Investment Opportunities and Emerging Trends in the Post Covid-19 Era” and “UK-China Joint Response to Climate Change, Developing New Models for Green Growth”.

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