China: Visit of Lord Green 13-16 October – October 2013
British Embassy Beijing
Visit highlights a bilateral trade and investment relationship that is starting to deliver on its rich potential.
Lord Green joined the Chancellor for the 5th UK-China Economic and Financial Dialogue and bilaterals with Executive Vice-Premier Wang Qishan and Vice-Premier Ma Kai. Alongside David Willets, he led the second Ministerial Exchange on Economic Cooperation and Growth with China’s economic planning Ministry, the NDRC.
Dinner with Infrastructure CEOs illustrated how collaboration has grown in the past 18 months. An event with designers and architects reinforced the place of creativity and innovation at the heart of the UK offer to China. A trip to Wuhan exposed opportunities for the UK in China’s leisure and visitor experience economy.
Ministerial Exchange on Economic Co-operation and Growth
Presentations on the UK’s new Industrial Strategies, China’s support for its Strategic Emerging Industries, the bilateral investment landscape and China’s rapid urbanisation helped identify several areas for potential future policy collaboration. These included:
exploring ways to bring in public and private funds to support research and commercialisation in both countries;
enhancing communication to understand better each others’ tech priorities; and
supporting training of Chinese officials in urban planning and regeneration;
Lord Green also suggested that he and NDRC Vice-Chairman Zhang Xiaoqiang co-author the foreword to an NDRC-sponsored investment guide to the UK: the first of its kind, developed under an Embassy Commercial Diplomacy Project.
Exchanges with MOFCOM on bilateral trade and investment and the WTO
With two-way trade and investment growing rapidly, MOFCOM Vice-Minister Zhong Shan noted our strong co-operation on technology and infrastructure.
Both agreed the WTO should remain the primary mechanism to promote global trade. Lord Green said that our bilateral investment relationship showed a strong, open position on market access would bring mutual benefits.
They agreed to hold the next Joint Economic and Trade Commission in China before summer 2014.
Strengthening overseas business networks
Lord Green hosted lunch with China Britain Business Council Chairman Lord Sassoon and representatives of the UK’s several Chambers of Commerce in China.
Dinner with Infrastructure CEOs
Following signature of a UK-China MOU on infrastructure investment, the last 18 months has seen significant Chinese investment into UK utilities, energy and real estate, most recently Beijing Construction’s 20% stake in the £800m Manchester Airport City development announced during the Chancellor’s visit.
Chinese sovereign wealth funds, banks, energy and telecoms companies all spoke positively about the UK’s openness to investment and welcomed the advice and support they had received on the UK’s legal, financial and regulatory environment. Several asked for making work visas more flexible and for allowing for multi-entry and longer stays in-market. Lord Green was able to point to the Chancellor’s new announcements.
Creativity is GREAT
Lord Green gave the closing address at a well-attended CBBC panel event on the creative economy. Speakers included the Editor of Vogue China, Chinese designer Huishan Zhang who studied at Central Saint Martin’s, Designer Thomas Heatherwick and Ian Livingstone, who helped bring the world Lara Croft.
Lord Green praised UK design, creativity and innovation as the connective thread running through our most successful manufacturing and services industries. A creative partnership with China would help drive domestic consumption and support its growing outward investments. He later witnessed the signature of an MOU on SME collaboration between the CBBC and China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
Lord Green travelled to Wuhan with Chairman Wang Jianlin of Wanda. He saw Wanda’s Wuhan Cultural Centre – one of its many large scale developments in China. New leisure and visitor experience developments, and projects to preserve and restore China’s existing cultural heritage could be the next high value opportunity in China.
Eye-catching inward investment deals caught the headlines. But Lord Green’s visit found interlocutors queuing up to salute the health of our two-way trade and investment relationship across the board, with the sense that this is just the start.
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