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President Xi's visit injects vitality into bilateral ties

By Jin Xu | China Daily | Updated: 2015-10-21 07:50

 President Xi's visit injects vitality into bilateral ties

Visitors take a group selfie near a street with Chinese and UK national flags. Wu Zhiyi / China Daily

China-UK trade cooperation set to be expanded

President Xi Jinping's ongoing State visit to the United Kingdom, the first in a decade, is injecting new vitality and motivation into bilateral economic and trade cooperation. The two countries will have clearer focuses in deepening their cooperation in trade, investment and finance.

Despite the global financial crisis and global economic recession, bilateral trade between China and the UK has maintained fast growth, rocketing from $39.2 billion in 2009 to $80.9 billion in 2014.

Bilateral trade increased 15.2 percent year-on-year in 2014, five percentage points higher than the growth of Sino-EU trade, making the UK China's fastest-growing trade partner in the European Union.

From January to September, cargo trade between China and the UK dropped 2.5 percent, a fall much smaller than the marked decrease in Sino-EU trade.

The trade structure between China and the UK continues to be optimized with a rising share of automobiles, aviation, telecommunications and equipment, as well as other products with high added value.

Currently, China is the UK's second-largest trade partner outside the EU, and the UK is China's second-largest trade partner in the EU.

Mutual investment is a new growth point in bilateral trade.

The UK has become the largest destination in Europe for China's overseas investments in terms of total amount of Greenfield investment and mergers and acquisitions.

By the end of September, nearly 500 Chinese enterprises had set up branches in the UK in trade, transport, telecommunications, high-end manufacturing, infrastructure construction, networks, research and development centers and hotels.

Chinese enterprises actively fulfill their social responsibilities in the UK, and have established a positive image with their performance and contributions to the local economy.

The UK's investment in China increased by 28 percent year-on-year in 2014, when China saw a big drop in investment from Japan, the United States, the EU and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

By the end of last year, the UK's accumulated direct investment in China reached nearly $20 billion, which was invested in more than 7,000 projects.

London has been on a fast track to becoming an offshore market for renminbi since 2011.

The UK is the first country to sign a series of key agreements with China in that direction. In June, the first renminbi-denominated money market exchange traded fund was listed on the London stock exchange, demonstrating another milestone in the UK's growing offshore renminbi activities.

The People's Bank of China, the Chinese central bank, plans to issue central bank bills valued in renminbi in London this year.

China and the UK are entering a "golden era" in bilateral economic and trade relations. The UK has a transparent business environment, and both China and the UK embrace opening-up policies.

The two countries are in different phases of industrial adjustment and transformation. There is high structural complementarity in industry and economy between the two countries.

Innovation is the new area for the two countries to deepen their bilateral cooperation in the future. The UK has an advanced manufacturing industry and strong research and development ability.

The UK has wide international connections and British businesses have recognized brands and a worldwide marketing network and resources.

The country has accumulated rich experience in urbanization, the construction of healthcare systems, social security networks, city management, environmental protection and sustainable development. China can draw lessons from the UK in all of these aspects.

China and the UK can join hands and strengthen coordination in global financial governance in the future, and make new efforts to promote the internationalization of the renminbi.

The author is minister counselor to the Chinese embassy in the UK.

(China Daily 10/21/2015 page18)

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