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Analyst: Chinese-style modernization beneficial to UK

By XING YI in London | China Daily | Updated: 2023-03-14 09:22
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The Chinese-style modernization that seeks high-quality development, common prosperity and friendly cooperation with other countries will benefit the United Kingdom, said Keith Bennett, a senior analyst on international relations and deputy chairman of the 48 Group Club.

"For about a decade, China has been making a switch from emphasizing the quantity of growth to the quality of growth," said Bennett, noting that there is a lot of stress on the economy in the Government Work Report at the first session of the 14th National People's Congress of China which set the country's GDP growth target for 2023 at 5 percent.

"Since the optimization of COVID policy, we have seen that the Chinese economy has been strongly and quickly roaring back," he said. "And I've read predictions of a 6 percent growth, but I think it is good for China to set a modest target and beat it, considering also that the size of the Chinese economy means that a modest growth would be a great achievement.

"Now with China's opening-up, its successful economic growth will be beneficial to the rest of the world."

The 48 Group Club is an organization dedicated to promoting trade between China and the UK with its history dating back to the beginning of trade ties between the two countries in 1953.

China is the fourth-largest trading partner with the UK. The latest figures from UK's Office for National Statistics show that the country's export of goods to China increased by 58.7 percent in the 12 months to December 2022 compared with the same period the previous year, while the UK's import of goods from China increased by 9.8 percent over the same period.

"China is a huge market with a middle-income group of 400 million people, and as China moves toward a high-income country, certainly the middle-income group will become the majority of the population," said Bennett.

The Government Work Report said it had promoted personal income growth through various avenues and saw the earnings of middle- and low-income groups rise in the past five years.

In the measures laid out for the work in 2023, the report set targets for the growth in personal income to be generally in step with economic growth, and steady increases in both the volume and quality of imports and exports.

Huge demand

"That middle-income group has a huge demand for high-quality products and also high-quality services. Therefore, this is something that every country in the world can benefit from. In Britain, we benefit from Chinese investment, which creates a lot of jobs in this country," said Bennett.

Citing a report on the development of Chinese enterprises in the UK, Bennett noted that there is a wide range of sectors in which Chinese companies are investing in Britain, including not only finance and manufacturing but also consumer products and energy.

"I'm also impressed by the socially responsible nature of much of that investment in terms of the emphasis on renewables and sustainability, and environment-friendly industries," he said.

Regarding the resumption of international personnel exchanges since China's optimization of its COVID policy, Bennett noted the record number of more than 150,000 Chinese students studying in the UK last year, which is more than from any other country in the world.

"They have not only made an economic contribution to the UK, but also an intellectual contribution," he said. "If you take the example of new patents and peer-reviewed scientific papers in the world, the biggest number is from China.

"Actually, the degree of cooperation between Britain and China has yet to reach its full potential, and the more the Chinese economy develops, the greater that potential will be," he added.

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