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UK's Guangzhou Consul Focuses on Sustainability
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The new Consul General at the British Consulate General Guangzhou has identified sustainable development as a key area for cooperation between the United Kingdom and South China.


Brian Davidson, who took up his new post at the end of last month, outlined his priorities as Consul General in an exclusive interview with China Daily yesterday.


Under the broad topic of sustainable development, the Consulate General "will do a lot of work in climate security, conservation, biodiversity, marine environment, urban regeneration and good governance capacity building," Davidson said.


The consulate is in the process of wrapping up a project that looked at the impact of public opinion on trade policy, which the consulate had conducted with a partner in Guangdong. It also held a seminar on ocean acidification in Guangzhou on Monday and is planning to organize events that will focus on plant conservation and the sustainability of harvesting traditional medicinal plants.


Davidson said he also considered cooperation in science and innovation and the enforcement of intellectual property rights as priority issues.


Describing south China, and Guangdong Province in particular, as a "dynamic entrepreneurial region," Davidson said the area's manufacturing and logistics, its mix of labor- and non labour-intenstive industries and its efforts to develop information technology and financial services all present "enormous business opportunities to British firms."


"There are good opportunities to encourage and support more Chinese companies which want to enter the UK market," he said.


Two-way trade between the UK and Guangdong rose by 23 per cent year-on-year to US$7.242 billion last year and accounted for about 30 per cent of the trade between China and the UK in that year.


Meanwhile, Davidson said he planned to make further improvements to the process for issuing visas as well as increase the success rate for applicants.


The British Consulate General Guangzhou issued 27,844 visas in the first 10 months of this year, with 91.5 percent of applicants successfully receiving visas. This accounted for about 22 percent of all the UK visas issued on the Chinese mainland.


The consulate issued 4,060 student visas in the first nine months, with 87.6 percent of applicants successfully receiving visas.


Touching on the issue of tourist visas, Davidson said: "We will work more closely with travel agencies and visa-application centers to streamline the process."


The Consulate General will also encourage more legal migration to the UK and continue to combat illegal migration, Davidson added.


(China Daily November 15, 2006)

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