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Home > News in Pictures
Keynote Speech by H.E. Ambassador Liu Xiaoming at the CBI Chinese New Year Dinner: Carry on Glorious Tradition, Blaze New Trails and Write a New Chapter
The Langham Hotel, London, 22 February 2018
2018/02/24

Secretary Matt Hancock,

Director-General Carolyn Fairbairn,

Chief Executive Officer Luo Gang,

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Good evening!

It gives me great pleasure to join you for this Chinese New Year Dinner jointly held by the CBI and Huawei. First of all, I would like to extend my New Year greetings to all of you!

On this day 44 years ago, Chairman Mao Zedong proposed the Three Worlds Theory.

  • The first world consists of the two superpowers, namely the US and the former Soviet Union.
  • The second world is made up of developed nations such as the European countries, Japan and Canada.
  • And the third world refers to the developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, including China.

Now nearly half a century has passed. The Cold War is a distant past. The international landscape has gone through enormous changes and continues to evolve.

In what is now a global village, countries are increasingly interdependent. Our common interests have grown and we share weal and woe.

For this new world, President Xi put forward China's proposal, that is, to build a community with a shared future for mankind, where all countries engage in win-win cooperation and share the benefit together.

44 years ago, China's GDP was $144.1 billion, and per capita GDP was $160. Now, China is the world's second largest economy, with GDP multiplied by nearly 100 times, and per capita GDP up by over 50 times.

44 years ago, China and the UK had just upgraded their ties to ambassadorial level. Bilateral trade was $300 million. Only 200 Chinese visited Britain and 100 Chinese students studied here. Last year, our bilateral trade reached $80 billion, mutual visits topped 4,000 per day, and the number of Chinese students in the UK soared to 170 thousand.

44 years ago, the UK had just joined the European Economic Community. Today, UK-EU relationship is once again at a historic crossroads.

44 years ago, I started my diplomatic career. From then on, I have worked in Asia, Africa, Europe and North America, and borne witness to the spectacular progress in China's diplomatic history. I feel specially honored to have witnessed and contributed my share to the growth of China-UK relations in the past eight years.

Looking back, we see half a century bring historic changes to the world, to China and to China-UK relations. Today, China-UK relationship has weathered the changes in the world and is embracing the "Golden Era".

In 2017, the Year of the Rooster brought the dawn of hope and excitement from achievements for China-UK relations.

Our two countries celebrated the 45th anniversary of ambassadorial diplomatic ties, and consolidated the China-UK "Golden Era".

Political trust was enhanced.

Economic and trade cooperation was filled with highlights. Bilateral trade increased by 6.2% year on year, of which British export to China grew by nearly 20%.

Cooperation between our two countries on the Belt and Road Initiative yielded fruitful results. Here are a few examples:

  • China Railway Express ran its first freight train between China's Yiwu and London, offering a new, on-land option for the movement of goods between China and Britain.
  • The Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant has entered into construction phase, and the generic design assessment on Hualong One nuclear technology has started the second phase.
  • The ABP Royal Albert Dock broke ground. This Dock is expected to play a key part in the development of East London.
  • The Agricultural Bank of China and Shanghai Pudong Development Bank set up branches in London.

At the beginning of 2018, Prime Minister May paid her first and very successful visit to China. During the visit, the leaders of the two countries agreed to build China-UK "Golden Era" 2.0.

The two countries signed 12 inter-governmental agreements, established the Chinese-British Entrepreneur Committee, and signed nearly £10 billion worth of commercial deals that cover the areas of trade, investment, finance, science and technology.

These fruitful results could not have been achieved without the persistent efforts and genuine cooperation between the business communities of our two countries, including the CBI and Huawei.

The CBI is the most influential business organization in the UK. For years, CBI has actively contributed to enhancing cooperation between Chinese and British companies.

During Prime Minister May's visit to China, the CBI signed an MOU with China's Centre for International Economic and Technological Cooperation.

  • This MOU aims to match Britain's "Modern Industrial Strategy" with "Made in China 2025" strategy.
  • It will facilitate the sharing of our latest policies, technology achievements and best practice.
  • This is in the interest of sustainable cooperation in the field of industry and information technology.

Huawei UK is an excellent representative of Chinese companies in this country. It has contributed to the British economy by not only creating large numbers of jobs but also driving the scientific and technological innovation and green development.

As far as I know, Huawei has set up research and development centres in Bristol, Cambridge and Ipswich. Of its over 1,400 employees here in Britain, 70% are hired locally.

During Prime Minister May's visit to China, Huawei announced that it will spend a further £3 billion on procurement in Britain in the next five years.

Looking ahead, 2018 is an important year.

  • It is the first year for China to implement the blueprint for the new era outlined at the 19th Party Congress on all fronts.
  • It marks the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening up, and the fifth anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative.
  • It is also a year to shift the China-UK "Golden Era" into a higher gear.

In the new era, China will open its door wider to the world, and contribute to an open world economy. Here in the UK, amid Brexit negotiations, the country is committed to building a "Global Britain" and expanding cooperation with global partners with greater openness.

This provides a historic opportunity for China-UK relations. The two countries have every reason to seize this opportunity, because if we do,

  • we can expand, elevate and deepen our mutually-beneficial cooperation,
  • we can make China-UK relations more strategic, practical, global and inclusive,
  • and we can contribute more "golden fruits" to the China-UK "Golden Era".

At this important historical moment, as we build on past achievements and aim for new success, I would like to share with you my three suggestions.

First, be a firm supporter of China-UK "Golden Era" 2.0.

During Prime Minister May's visit to China, the leaders of our two countries agreed to build China-UK "Golden Era" 2.0. This will guide the relations between our two countries as we move forward.

I suggest the business communities of our two countries seize this "golden opportunity", tap your comparative strength in capital, market, technology and expertise, and engage in cooperation in areas that benefit both sides. I hope you will deliver more "golden fruits" for China-UK "Golden Era" 2.0.

As we talk about "Golden Era" 2.0, I would like to advertise for China's first International Import Expo, which will be held in Shanghai this coming November. We hope to see more British companies at this Expo. I am sure this will be an excellent opportunity to help British products find their way into the Chinese market and create new growth in China-UK trade.

Second, be an active promoter of Belt and Road cooperation.

The Belt and Road Initiative is open, transparent, inclusive, and win-win for all.

The UK has a competitive edge in experience, expertise, innovative ideas and services, while China is strong in new business models, capital, infrastructure construction and product commercialization. Our two countries can match our strengths and work very well together in these areas.

The Belt and Road Initiative offers "natural opportunities" for our two countries. Our cooperation has huge potential and broad prospects. Therefore, China and the UK have every reason to be "natural partners" in the Belt and Road Initiative. This will deliver benefits to our two countries and our people. It will also create more opportunities for other participating countries.

I hope the business communities of both China and the UK will deepen cooperation under the framework of this Initiative and deliver win-win results for all.

My third suggestion is: be the leader in building an open world economy.

As countries of global influence, China and the UK have important obligations to improve global economic governance and promote world economic growth.

Our two countries have a growing consensus in upholding free trade and opposing protectionism. China is committed to building a modernized economy and an open economy of higher standards. This has created an opportunity for our two countries to increase cooperation at both bilateral and global levels.

  • On the bilateral level, we can deepen cooperation in artificial intelligence, green energy, digital economy and sharing economy.
  • On the global level, we can enhance coordination in global economic governance and economic globalization, and take concrete steps to drive world economic growth.

In the words of Prime Minister May, China's decisions together with Britain's will "shape the world around us".

Ladies and gentlemen,

There is an old Chinese saying which goes: "Victory is ensured when people pool their strength; success is secured when people put their heads together."

In this complex and changing world, we must free ourselves from the old mentality of the Cold War, think in new ways, seize new opportunities and carry out new cooperation.

I am convinced that the business communities of our two countries will follow the trend of the world, keep the big picture of China-UK relations in mind, and join hands to blaze new paths.

As long as you do, I am sure I can count on you to make new contribution to China-UK "Golden Era" 2.0, and write a new and more splendid chapter for China-UK cooperation!

In conclusion, I wish everyone a happy and prosperous Year of the Dog!

Thank you!

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