Chinese Vice President Hu Jintao urged the British businessmen in London Monday to seize the opportunity of participating in the competition on the Chinese market with longer and wider perspectives, and promised the Chinese government would help create more favorable conditions.
Delivering a speech at the banquet hosted in his honor by the China-Britain Business Council, Hu said that in recent years, the relationship between China and Britain gathered a good growth momentum and was buttressed by steadily increased common interests, deepened mutual understanding and mutual trust.
He said top leaders of both countries had placed high importance on developing the relationship. Bilateral exchanges and cooperation in various fields had kept expanding and producing rich results, Hu said. All this served as a sound basis for even closer cooperation in trade, economy and other endeavors.
According to Chinese official figures, two-way trade between China and Britain has grown steadily, approaching 10 billion U.S. dollars last year and totaling 7.58 billion dollars in the first three quarters of this year. Of the European Union members, Britain has become the second largest trading partner of China.
Hu said he was pleased with the continued development of bilateral commercial ties, and that there was great untapped potential for further cooperation.
He noted that in China's priority development areas, like infrastructure, telecommunications, energy and environmental protection, Britain was strongly competitive and should seek to play a bigger role.
On the current trade imbalance, the Chinese vice president told the British businessmen that China was ready to take active steps to increase imports from Britain.
"Right now, both the mix and level of China's imports and exports, as well as the foreign investment China seeks to attract, have undergone significant changes," Hu said. He added that China needed more high-tech products and personnel with managerial and professional expertise.
He noted that as international competition for the Chinese market share intensified, China enjoyed greater leverage in choosing its partners consistent with market rules.
He said China welcomed friends from British business communities to explore new areas while consolidating their traditional advantages, readjusting their export mix to China to include more high-tech products, stepping up technological transfers and realizing a balanced trade by constantly increasing the trade volume.
He noted that the China-UK Investment Partnership, jointly launched recently by the China-Britain Business Council and China' s Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation, represented a useful effort to further expand investment cooperation.
The Chinese vice president said he was confident that with concerted efforts, the mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Britain would have broad prospects and bear even richer fruit.
Hu arrived here Sunday for an official visit to Britain after winding up a working visit to Russia. Britain is the second leg of his five-nation Europe tour which will also take him to France, Spain and Germany.
( Xinhua News Agency October 30, 2001)