​Sino-British cooperation touches upon financial sector

By George N. Tzogopoulos
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, January 29, 2018
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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying speaks at a regular news conference in Beijing, China, Jan. 25, 2018.

A few weeks ago, The Daily Telegraph (London) published an article entitled: "China could be Britain's best friend after Brexit." On the same theme, Politico magazine argued that "Brexit Britain looks to China."

The expected disengagement of Britain from the EU can pave the way for new opportunities, indeed. However, irrespective of what happens after Brexit is finally realized, Beijing and London have slowly but steadily advanced their bilateral relationship in recent years.

In 2017, for instance, bilateral trade rose 6.2 percent to $79.03 billion. China's exports to Britain increased 1.8 percent and its imports from there surged 19.4 percent. Also, British investment in China reached $1.5 billion, and China's non-financial investment in Britain reached $1.53 billion.

The spokesperson for China's Ministry of Commerce, Gao Feng, has expressed his optimism for the future as "new achievements in corporate cooperation in innovation, telecom, new energy and other fields" are being jointly pursued.

There are several recent examples showing the excellent level of bilateral collaboration. Last July, President Xi Jinping met British Prime Minister Theresa May on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hamburg and reconfirmed his belief in the so-called "Golden Era."

Moreover, at the beginning of December, Vice Premier Liu Yandong and Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt jointly chaired the fifth annual U.K.-China high-level people-to-people dialogue in London.

A few days later, Premier Li Keqiang met Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond in Beijing. The latter was attending the 9th bilateral economic and financial dialogue.

On that occasion, commercial deals worth of approximately $1.9 billion were reached, along with an agreement to accelerate preparations for the London-Shanghai Stock Connect initiative, which will mean investors in each country will be able to trade shares listed on the other stock exchange in the future.

The Financial Times sees this initiative as "intended to open a new channel for trading the renminbi in London." Additionally, new commitments were made during the 9th economic and financial dialogue to further develop the proposed Mutual Recognition of Funds and a bond connect leading to the opening up of the bond market to mutual trading.

As far as the Belt and Road Initiative is concerned, Britain is constantly attempting to play an active role. The financial sector is no exception, fueled by a desire to maintain the City of London's reputation as a global financial center after Brexit.

Statistics from the British Office on National Statistics demonstrate that about $406 billion in financial and professional services moved from Britain to China in 2016 while £53.96 billion flowed in the other direction. Within this context, Douglas Flint, former chairman of HSBC Group, has been chosen as the Chancellor's "City Envoy to the Belt and Road Initiative."

Further to this, banks such as Standard Chartered are supporting the BRI by committing to financing facilitation to the value of at least $20 billion by 2020. And the City of London and Hong Kong will be closely working to provide financing and legal and insurance expertise for the Initiative.

To benefit from the good momentum, the City of London Corporation, the governing body of the City of London, is engaged in a campaign to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its presence in China.

In their meeting at the beginning of the year, China's Ambassador to Britain Liu Xiaoming and the new Lord Mayor of the City of London Charles Bowman exchanged views on further strengthening Sino-British financial cooperation and jointly building the Belt and Road.

Bowman will lead a delegation to attend the celebrations in China this March, and also take the opportunity to implement the outcomes of the 9th economic and financial dialogue and explore ways to strengthen collaboration with Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Xiong'an New Area in Hebei Province, and other places.

Perspectives for 2018 are bright not only because the 10th relevant dialogue will take place in Britain, but also because a similar bilateral RMB Internationalization Dialogue will be held in London.

As Bowman has said, London is the largest renminbi payments center outside China, and the largest renminbi foreign exchange center worldwide. The Bank of China's U.K. chief executive, Su Yu, also emphasizes the significance of Chinese financial companies in London.

So, win-win cooperation also seems to be underway in the financial sector. 

George N. Tzogopoulos is a columnist with China.org.cn. For more information please visit:


Opinion articles reflect the views of their authors, not necessarily those of China.org.cn.

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