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UK, China to boost SME trade and investment

Updated: 2013-10-17 19:00

UK, China to boost SME trade and investment

Lord Sassoon(Front Right second), Chairman of China-Britain Business Council and Mr Qin Zhihui (Front Left second), Director General of ProSME Centre signed the MoU. Witness (From Right to Left, back): Lord Stephen Green, Minister for UK Trade and Investment, Mr Xu Kongrang, Vice Chairman of China International Cooperation Association of Small and Medium Entreprises (CICASME),Mr Xu Kemin, Deputy Director General of SME Department of MIIT, Mr. Stephen Phillips, CEO of China-Britain Business Council. [Photo / Provided to]

China Britain Business Council Chairman Lord Sassoon signed a ground-breaking deal with China's ProSME for the UK and China on Oct 15, 2013 in Beijing to step up support for two-way SME trade and investment.

Following a meeting between Vice Premier Wang Yang and Lord Sassoon in April 2013, when the Vice Premier emphasised the great importance China's State Council attaches to the support for SME development, CBBC was encouraged to initiate further collaboration between SMEs from both countries.

China and the UK place considerable emphasis on the development and contribution of SMEs to economic growth, innovation and job creation. But SMEs from both countries face similar challenges operating internationally and both need and value practical support.

The MoU between CBBC and ProSME is designed to strengthen cooperation and offer enhanced practical support for SMEs from the UK and China to do business together. In particular it will facilitate a step-change in SME-SME engagement through a sustained and tailored programme of events and matchmaking to take place both in China and the UK over the next 3 years, and sharing of best practice, experience and the extension of mutual support in the day-to-day delivery of support services to SMEs.

The programme will focus on the following high-potential sectors: Advanced Manufacturing, Business Services, Creative Industries, Energy & Utilities, including renewables, Financial Services, Food and Beverages, Environmental and Green Technologies, Healthcare / Life Sciences, ICT, Infrastructure.

CBBC already helps hundreds of SMEs every year to access opportunities in China, including in its fast-growing dynamic regional cities, but many more British SMEs could benefit from the exciting opportunities that exist in China's rapidly changing marketplace. It is often thought that China is dominated by massive state owned businesses, but over 99% of Chinese businesses are SMEs and they account for 60% of GDP, 70% of innovation and 80% of employment. More and more of these SMEs are looking to internationalise and are eager to work with foreign partners at home and abroad.

"This is a priority area for both the British and Chinese governments. I discussed this in April with Vice Premier Wang Yang and CBBC have responded with this practical, bi-lateral programme of support. We are delighted that the initiative has the backing of both governments and we expect elements of the programme to be linked to further high level UK-China ministerial visits." Said Lord Sassoon, CBBC Chairman.

According to Lord Green, Minister of State for Trade and Investment,"CBBC is UKTI's partner in supporting British businesses in China and day-in, day-out helps SMEs from across the length and breadth of the UK succeed in China. This MoU will open up even more opportunities for SMEs to work with their counterparts in China, the UK and around the world."

"At CBBC we understand the issues that SMEs face in China intimately. Through our team in 10 offices in the UK and 13 in China. British SMEs can benefit from the experience, knowledge and expertise of a dedicated team that has helped companies from every sector in every part of China. This MoU will further strengthen our programme of activity for SMEs, which includes the SME China Forum later this week in Manchester." Said Stephen Phillips, CBBC Chief Executive.