China-UK trade still on right track

By He Shan
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, August 20, 2013
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As British drug giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)'s bribery scandal still makes the headlines in China, British Investment and Trade Counselor Brian Gallagher holds a more upbeat view of the bilateral economic ties between both countries.

"The trade between China and UK is growing year-on-year. We see more Chinese investment coming to the UK because the UK is about to transform its market and welcomes Chinese investment," Gallagher told in Beijing. "We will see huge investment, not just equities, but green-field and bio-field investment."

GSK is now in the process of being investigated by Chinese authorities over bribery allegations, together with three other pharmaceutical companies in China. GSK, a major company and investor in China, and its case have not only pointed to China's flawed medical system, but have also offered some insight into foreign companies' ambitions to succeed in the world's largest market.

Gallagher emphasized that the case will not affect trade ties between the two countries, citing their strong bilateral ties.

"We see that the relationship continues because there is a strong bilateral trade relationship behind the two countries," he said.

His remark is backed by Chinese telecom equipment giant Huawei Technologies, one of the biggest investors coming to the UK.

In September of last year, Huawei announced it would spend 1.3 billion pounds (12.43 billion yuan) to expand its operations across the UK over the next few years, and increase its workforce to 1,500 by 2017.

"It is a strong signal they are sending to other Chinese companies and investors that the UK is a very open and transparent country. Huawei is great example. They are growing their business and using Britain as a launch pad to Europe," said the trade official.

It is true that British are very serious about winning foreign business, as evidenced by British Prime Minister David Cameron's enthusiasm in promoting the UK business environment in order to attract foreign investment.

The prime minister described himself as a busy elf, saying, "I've drunk tea in Beijing, ayran in Ankara and teh-tarik in Kuala Lumpur."

On the Chinese buying list in the UK, we find the Royal Albert Dock to be renovated by Chinese real estate developer ABP, Sunseeker purchased by Dalian Wanda and Lloyd's building bought by Ping An Insurance Group, just to name a few.

According to statistics of the UK Office for National Statistics, at the end of Q1 this year, UK exports to China were up by 11% and averaged at more than 1 billion pounds a month, defying the EU's weak economic recovery.

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