Jia Qinglin, Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), said in London Tuesday that China and Britain should further boost business ties.
"We should give full play to our respective strength, take full advantage of the business opportunities presented by China's economic growth and fully tap the potential for business cooperation to boost our business ties," Jia said at a business lunch hosted by the China-Britain Business Council.
Jia said frequent exchanges in all fields and at all levels have boosted the sound growth of China-Britain relations.
"Britain is now China's third largest trading partner in the European Union and the largest EU investor in China," said Jia, adding China-UK trade reached US$24.5 billion in 2005, a thirty-fold increase over that of 25 years ago.
Jia stressed that "great potential sill remains to be tapped" in spite of such rapid growth of China-UK business ties.
China-UK trade only accounted for less than 2 percent of China's foreign trade and less than 3 percent of that of Britain, which is behind other major EU countries in terms of technology export to China, Jia said.
"The sustained, steady and fast growth of China's economy offers a good opportunity for strengthening China's business ties with Britain," he said.
Jia made a five-point proposal for boosting business relations between the two countries. They include upgrading business relations in such fields as high technology, energy, biotechnology, IT and new materials, increasing mutual investment, promoting cooperation between small and medium sized firms, furthering trade liberalization and cooperation in hosting the Olympic Games.
Echoing Jia's views, vice president of China-Britain Business Council Stephen Perry praised the business ties between the two countries, saying "our commercial relations have never been better" and "trade and investment are both rising strongly."
On Tuesday, Jia also met British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the speakers of the House of Commons and the House of Lords.
Jia started his four-day official goodwill visit to Britain on Sunday. Britain is the fist leg of his four-nation Europe tour from October 22 to November 3, which will also take him to Lithuania, Estonia and Ukraine.
(Xinhua News Agency October 25, 2006)