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Join Hands to Write a New Chapter in China-UK Economic and Trade Cooperation


- Sidelights on the Speech by Ambassador Liu Xiaoming at the Welcoming Luncheon Hosted by China-Britain Business Council

(Joint Photo of Ambassador Liu Xiaoming with CBBC Board Members)

On March 23 at noon, the banquet hall of Claridge's Hotel in central London was full of people. About 200 British business people gathered here to greet a distinguished guest. In this century-old five-star hotel, the China-Britain Business Council (CBBC) hosted a welcoming banquet for Ambassador Liu Xiaoming. When the master of ceremonies announced with a resonant voice that: please stand up and greet his Excellency Liu Xiaoming, Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to the United Kingdom, all that presented stood up and applauded, and Ambassador Liu Xiaoming, accompanied by CBBC Chairman Sir David Brewer, entered into the hall under warm gaze and graciously took his seat.

(Chairman Brewer Delivering Speech)

In his welcoming speech Chairman Brewer said that CBBC welcomes Ambassador Liu Xiaoming to Britain to assume office. He said proudly that CBBC is honoured to have this opportunity to host the biggest public event attended by Ambassador Liu since his arrival in Britain in his occupied schedule and this fully reflects the Ambassador's emphasis on the development of trade and economic relations between the UK and China, and shows the recognition on the work of CBBC.

He said that the UK attaches great importance to developing the relations with China, especially in economy and trade. CBBC has long been committed to the development of UK-China economic and trade cooperation. During the over 50 years since its establishment, CBBC served as an important platform for corporations in the two countries to set up links, exchange information and seek cooperation and made unremitting efforts in supporting the development of small and medium-sized enterprises in the two countries and achieving connections and cooperation between the corporations of both sides.

He said that the UK and China are at different stages of economic development, with different industrial structures and have their own characteristics and advantages. The UK has advanced experience and technology in the fields such as finance, education, environment, energy, aerospace and aviation and the two sides are highly complementary in their cooperation. In spite of the impact of the financial crisis on both British and Chinese economies last year, the British exports to China still achieved a 5.3% growth. The two countries have broad prospects for the bilateral economic and trade cooperation and a great potential for cooperation in many fields. CBBC is willing to cooperate with the Chinese side to play an active role in furthering the bilateral economic and trade ties.

Chairman Brewer expressed his confidence that the UK-China relations, particularly the bilateral economic and trade relations, will see an even greater development after Ambassador Liu takes office.

(Ambassador Liu Delivering Speech)

Ambassador Liu delivered a warm speech. He said that both Britain and China are great countries with a long history and splendid culture and both of them have an important status and influence in the world. The China-British cooperation is flourishing like "a hundred flowers in bloom". The two sides have comprehensive and in-depth cooperation in various fields including economy and trade, finance, education, culture, science and technology, health and sustainable development and maintain close consultation and coordination in international and global affairs.

Ambassador Liu stressed that economic and trade relations are an important basis for the China-UK relations. For the further development of China-UK trade and economic cooperation, priority may be given to the following aspects: First, seize the opportunity of the Shanghai World Expo to jointly expand the achievements of the economic and trade promotion activities; second, identify the priority areas for bilateral cooperation and strive to achieve the complementarities between "Chinese production" and "British Services"; third, make breakthroughs in large projects; and fourth, carry out cooperation in cutting-edge fields such as low-carbon and green economy.

Ambassador Liu thanked CBBC for the grand welcome banquet and for its long-standing commitment to expanding the mutually beneficial economic and trade cooperation between China and Britain and contributions to the development of the bilateral relations, and said that as the new Chinese Ambassador to the United Kingdom, he is willing to join hands with CBBC and work together to push the China-UK economic and trade cooperation to a new level.

After his speech, Ambassador Liu answered questions from the attending guests. The atmosphere became even warmer with the interaction.

A representative from the renowned construction machinery manufacturer JCB said that the company attaches great importance to its development in the Chinese market and looks forward to expanding production and business in China, and that he hopes Ambassador Liu will have an opportunity to visit the company and learn about the current status of the UK manufacturing sector.

Ambassador Liu thanked JCB's invitation and said that as the world's first industrialized country, the United Kingdom has a glorious history in its manufacturing industry and some areas are still leading the world, and that there are many things for China to draw on. He expects to have the opportunity to learn about the manufacturing situation in the United Kingdom on site and to explore more opportunities for the cooperation between the manufacturing sectors of the two countries.

When asked about the hope that China will further open the market access in banking and insurance sectors, Ambassador Liu said that over the more than 30 years of reform and opening up, China has made some achievements in its financial opening up. Although China's financial sector is not very developed and the market mechanism is not yet very mature, the country's policy of adhering to opening-up did not and will not change. We welcome foreign financial and insurance industries to China to make investments and the Chinese Embassy is willing to provide whatever assistance within its capacity for relevant corporations to develop their business in China.

When a guest asked how to find a right partner from the many Chinese groups visiting Britain at present, Ambassador Liu said jokingly that CBBC is the most appropriate for this task and he believes that CBBC is certainly willing to take it and for free. Chairman Brewer chipped in humourously, "certainly we are, and you just need to pay membership fees". Ambassador Liu said that the Chinese Embassy is also glad to engage both Chinese and British corporations, help them to set up contacts and actively recommend to the British companies the Chinese delegations seeking for cooperation opportunities in Britain. "You can contact the Commercial Office of the Embassy or contact me directly. We will leave telephone numbers, fax numbers and e-mail addresses and please feel free to contact us at any time. Ambassador Liu's sincerity received warm applause from all that presented.

When a guest sitting on the west side of the banquet hall received the opportunity to ask questions, Ambassador Liu said with amusement that all the guests that asked questions just now are from the east and we should also concern about the west and give more opportunities to the west. He said he was pleased to learn that this guest found via the Internet a partner in the old industrial base in the Northeast China. According to him, although the Northeast and Midwest regions of China are not as well-developed as the eastern coastal region, they have rich natural resources and a further improved environment for investment as considerable progress has been made in infrastructure constructions in recent years. The central government implements the western development strategy to encourage foreign companies to develop in the central and western regions, and governments of local areas will also warmly welcome the foreign companies that make investments and develop business there. Ambassador Liu introduced the investment environment and advantageous fields in the central and western regions in China by citing examples drawn from his working experience in Gansu Province and said that the vast central and western China offers enormous business opportunities, and he hope the British companies will go there to seek for these opportunities, cooperate with local companies and achieve mutual benefit and a win-win situation. He enthusiastically said to all the guests that "Welcome to GO WEST, and to create a new world of business in the western region!"

Ambassador Liu's enthusiasm and openness won praise from all the guests. During the banquet many guests went to the table of Ambassador Liu and introduced the cooperation between their own companies and China. Many guests spontaneously lined up, hoping to get acquainted and exchange view with the Ambassador and discuss with him the opportunities for promoting the economic and trade cooperation between China and Britain. Ambassador Liu shook hands and talked with groups of guests. When Chairman Brewer announced the end of the banquet, all guests stood up and applauded, and reluctantly bid farewell to Ambassador Liu. The Ambassador's black sedan left the hotel and slowly disappeared in the endless rain in the spring of London, while the earnest voice for enhancing China-UK cooperation still echoed in the splendid banquet hall of the Claridge's Hotel.