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Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Liu Xiaoming at the HSBC Chinese New Year Luncheon: Build on Past Achievements and Aim for New Success | Updated: 2018-02-28 08:29
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Chairman Mark Tucker,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends:

It is a real pleasure to attend the HSBC Chinese New Year Luncheon for the eighth time in a row. I value this opportunity to meet with friends from the financial community to renew our friendship and share our visions for the future.

HSBC, the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, is the only financial institution in the world whose name reflects two Chinese cities. This illustrates its historical connection with China. It also signifies its deep involvement in China's development today.

Therefore, every year at the HSBC Chinese New Year Luncheon, I would like to talk about the latest progress in China-UK relations.

2017 is an extraordinary year for both China and the UK.

In China, the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party ushered in a new era for building socialism with Chinese characteristics.

In the UK, the negotiations to leave the EU marked the beginning of a new historic stage of "global Britain".

Between China and the UK, we marked the 45th anniversary of our ambassadorial diplomatic ties with renewed commitment to the China-UK "Golden Era" and strong growth in the bilateral relations.

First of all, in the past year, China-UK "Golden Era" made steady progress.

President Xi and Prime Minister May reiterated their commitment to the China-UK "Golden Era" during the G20 Hamburg Summit.

Our two countries had frequent high-level exchanges. The China-UK High-Level People to People Dialogue, the Economic and Financial Dialogue and the High-Level Security Dialogue produced over 140 outcomes.

We also held a variety of events to celebrate the 45th anniversary of our ambassadorial diplomatic ties and the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China.

All these have injected new vitality into the China-UK "Golden Era".

Second, in the past year, trade and economic cooperation between China and the UK yielded fruitful results.

Let me name a few, starting with trade:

Bilateral trade increased by 6.2% over the previous year and stood at over $79 billion, with British export to China up by nearly 20%.

Two-way investment kept growing. In 2017, Chinese investors brought nearly $1.5 billion into the UK. And it is not only the metropolis such as London and Manchester that drew them to this country. They also set foot in the middle, northern and western parts of Britain.

Trade and economic cooperation has expanded from traditional areas such as processing, manufacturing, energy and telecommunications to new and high-tech industries such as new energy, fintech and AI (artificial intelligence).

Major cooperation projects, including the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant and the ABP Royal Albert Dock, went smoothly.

The Agricultural Bank of China and Shanghai Pudong Development Bank got the official go-ahead to set up branches in London.

Third, in the past year, Belt and Road cooperation between China and the UK produced a number of highlights.

Last May, Chancellor Hammond attended the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in China as personal envoy of Prime Minister May. He saw Britain as a natural partner in the Belt and Road Initiative.

The UK is indeed leading other major Western countries in this endeavour.

You are the second country after China to contribute to a special fund of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

You are the first to approve and sign the Guiding Principles on Financing the Development of the Belt and Road.

You are also the first to appoint a special envoy to the Belt and Road Initiative, and set up the Expert Board.

Furthermore, the UK has pledged £25 billion in support of Belt and Road projects in Asia, and joined China in announcing the establishment of a bilateral investment fund. This fund has an initial capital injection of $1 billion and will focus on projects involving both our two countries and a third market.

Response to the Initiative from the British business community was overwhelming. Companies including HSBC Group issued special reports with suggestions for China-UK cooperation in this Initiative.

Early this month, Prime Minister May paid a successful visit to China. During the visit, the leaders of our two countries agreed to build China-UK "Golden Era" 2.0. They resolved to make the bilateral relationship more strategic, practical, global and inclusive.

The China-UK "Golden Era" entered into a new stage.

In the past year, HSBC also made remarkable achievements.

HSBC China received a lead underwriting license for overseas non-financial corporate Panda bonds in China's inter-bank bond market. At the time, it was the only foreign bank on the Chinese mainland to have received such a license.

The HSBC Group has set up 24 China desks around the world to provide services for projects under the Belt and Road Initiative.

The HSBC China and RMB Forum entered its third consecutive year and had been a strong advocate for RMB internationalization.

HSBC also took an active part in the establishment and operation of the China-UK Green Finance Taskforce, and helped facilitate the cooperation between our two countries in green finance.

Looking ahead, we have a great deal to expect in the new year.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening up.

It is a critical year for China to achieve the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects.

It is also the year when we shift the China-UK "Golden Era" into a higher gear.

In the new year, I hope friends of the financial communities of our two countries, HSBC Group included, will achieve new progress, and at the same time, contribute to the China-UK "Golden Era" 2.0. To do so, I hope you will seize three opportunities of the new era.

The first opportunity is China's economic development.

At the 19th Party Congress, the Chinese Government decided to put quality first, give priority to efficiency and develop a modernized economy.

At the same time, China will open wider to the world, expand two-way investment and trade with other countries, and work together with our global partners to build an open world economy.

This means that China will greatly increase market access. We will continue to open up the service sector, especially the financial sector. We will make business environment more friendly to investment.

In the foreseeable future, China's role as the engine of world economic growth will strengthen. China will continue to create more opportunities for the world, for the UK and for the business communities of our two countries.

This November, the first-ever China International Import Expo will be held in Shanghai. This is yet another major effort of China to open its market to the world. It is an invitation to all countries to share China's development opportunities. We hope to see more British companies applying for a place at the Expo.

The second opportunity is the trade and economic cooperation between China and the UK.

China-UK trade and economic cooperation needs the support of our two governments. It also relies on the earnest collaboration between big companies such as the HSBC Group.

With its good understanding of China's market environment and business culture, HSBC plays a unique role in trade and economic cooperation between China and the UK.

Not long ago, Chairman Mark Tucker accompanied Prime Minister May on her visit to China, during which the two countries established the China-UK Entrepreneur Committee. I commend the HSBC Group in becoming one of the British members on this important committee.

Going forward, I hope that HSBC will continue to leverage its strengths and strive to make greater contribution to the economic, trade and financial cooperation between our two countries.

The third opportunity is the Belt and Road Initiative.

This Initiative is China's idea. But the opportunities it creates and the fruits it produces belong to the world.

When China and the UK work together on the Belt and Road Initiative, we are not only bringing benefit to the people of our two countries. We are sharing the benefit with the world.

While in China early this month, Prime Minister May reaffirmed her support for the Belt and Road Initiative and for stronger China-UK cooperation on this Initiative.

The UK Government appointed former HSBC Chairman Douglas Flint as the special envoy to the Belt and Road Initiative. It shows the importance Britain is attaching to this Initiative. This also gives HSBC a unique edge in Belt and Road cooperation.

This year is the fifth anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative. And next year, China will host the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. I look forward to HSBC playing an even bigger role in China-UK cooperation on the Belt and Road.

As an old Chinese saying goes, "Great accomplishments require ambition and tireless effort".

I sincerely hope that in the new year, the financial communities of the China and the UK will continue to aim high and enhance cooperation with each other in real earnest.

I believe that working together, we can attain new heights in our economic and financial cooperation, and we can harvest more "golden fruits" for China-UK "Golden Era".

In conclusion, I wish HSBC Group even greater success in the new year.

And I wish everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous Year of the Dog.

Thank you!

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