Largest UK delegation joins Smart China Expo 2019

By Zhang Liying
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, August 28, 2019
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A McLaren720S Spider is displayed at the UK pavilion during the Smart China Expo 2019 being held in southwest China's Chongqing municipality from Aug. 26 to 29. [Photo by Zhang Liying/]

As one of the "countries of honor", the United Kingdom has sent the largest business delegation ever to visit southwest China's Chongqing municipality to join the ongoing Smart China Expo 2019 (SCE 2019).

The more than 100-strong delegation represents over 40 organizations from a wide range of sectors, including technology, infrastructure, advanced manufacturing, transport, culture and education, according to Graham Stuart, Minister for Investment at the Department for International Trade (DIT).

Speaking at the expo opening on Monday as delegation leader, Stuart said: "We are here to forge new relationships, create new opportunities and contribute to the golden era of U.K.-China relations."

The minister emphasized his country's commitment to openness and cooperation, saying it is a firm proponent of free and fair trade, with belief in the global rule-based system resisting protectionism.

"We will continue to welcome Chinese investment after Brexit, and maintain a stable, free and transparent investment environment," he added.

In an interview on the sidelines of the SCE 2019, Stuart said bilateral trade and investment between China and the U.K. were going from strength to strength.

Government statistics released during the 10th U.K.-China Economic and Financial Dialogue in June showed the trade in goods and services between the two countries had more than doubled from 32 billion pounds in 2008 to a record 69 billion pounds (US$86.4 billion), with bilateral investment having almost tripled.

Stuart said one of his purposes of visiting Chongqing was to attract more Chinese enterprises to use the U.K. as a place to go global, and to take advantage of the country's sound legal system, stable regulatory environment, low social security costs and competitive corporation taxes.

This is not his first visit to Chongqing. "I was here 12 years ago with a delegation of members of parliament. And I was shown then the plans of the transformation of Chongqing, ambitious plans to bring people in from the countryside, raise them up from poverty and build a much bigger and more important city," he said.

"Here we are 12 years on. As I flew into Chongqing, I looked out of the window and thought ‘they have delivered what they said they were going to'. It's very inspiring."

Stuart hailed China's progress in poverty elimination, calling it one of the most significant steps in human history. "The last few decades have seen a greater transformation of human welfare than any time. And China, of course, has been at the forefront."

The business delegation aims to showcase the U.K.'s dynamic, diverse and cutting-edge innovation and explore business opportunities at its pavilion during the four-day SCE 2019, according to a press release from the British Consulate-General in Chongqing.

Other items on the agenda include joining the first U.K.-China Future Intelligence Forum, launching the 5th DIT FinTech Awards and announcing the highlights of the U.K.-China AI Report, according to the release.

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