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British pleased with Xi's IPR comments

By Angus Mcneice in London | China Daily | Updated: 2018-04-17 09:00
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British business leaders welcomed comments made last week by President Xi Jinping about the protection of foreign intellectual property rights in China and about the status of the Belt and Road Initiative.

Speaking at the annual conference of the Boao Forum for Asia, Xi said that China will engage in "extensive consultation" with other nations participating in the Belt and Road Initiative.

China "has no geopolitical calculations", Xi said, will seek no exclusionary blocs and impose no business deals on others as it moves forward with the initiative. Tom Troubridge, chairman of the China Business Group at British accountancy PwC, formerly known as PricewaterhouseCoopers, said Xi's comments will help clarify the purpose of the Belt and Road Initiative to critics.

"Clearly there has been some skepticism about exactly what China's agenda is, so President Xi's words are obviously reassuring," Troubridge said. "Some have said it's just about giving China's construction companies something to do. ... But it is going to do a lot of good for a lot of relatively poor countries, and there's no reason why the UK shouldn't support it, provided these projects are done in a sustainable way.

He said the Belt and Road Initiative presents "huge opportunities" for British companies, especially in the engineering, financial and legal services sectors.

"At the business level, we are already cooperating furiously and very pro Belt and Road," Troubridge said.

Lord Mayor of the City of London Charles Bowman, who recently led a delegation to China to promote London's role in the Belt and Road Initiative, said UK capital is the "natural Western hub" for the initiative.

"President Xi's comments on the Belt and Road will have been welcomed by many people around the world, including here in the UK," Bowman said.

In his speech, Xi also said government will ramp up efforts to protect intellectual property rights for local and foreign companies operating in China.

"Improving property rights protection will enhance the competitiveness of the Chinese economy," the president said.

Xi said the government will reorganize the State Intellectual Property Office this year, step up law enforcement and significantly raise costs for offenders.

Tim Moss, chief executive of the UK government's Intellectual Property Office, said a healthy and balanced intellectual property system is "important for economic competitiveness".

"I welcome President Xi's commitment to IP protection and look forward to supporting detailed implementation," he said.


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