World / Europe

Xi's UK visit to mark a milestone in 'golden era'

By Zheng Xin ( Updated: 2015-10-18 20:14

President Xi Jinping's visit to the UK will mark a new milestone in bilateral trade and economic relations, according to China's Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng.

"The two sides will set out new directions for the future and enhance practical cooperation in various sectors to bring bilateral trade and the economic relationship to a new level," he said.

"Both sides have high expectations of his visit as it is the first visit by the president of China to the UK in a decade."

According to Gao, trade and economic exchanges between the two countries have made substantial progress over the past few decades, and the bilateral economic relationship has withstood the test of the Eurozone debt crisis and the weak recovery of the world economy

It has also become a major driving force for the development of bilateral relations with fruitful results, he said.

Figures from the ministry reveal that UK is China's second largest trading partner in the EU, second largest source of actualized investment and second largest investment destination, whereas China is the UK's fourth largest trading partner.

Two-way trade increases year by year, reaching $80.87 billion in 2014, doubling the $39.16 billion five years ago and registering 15.3 percent year-on-year growth, the fastest in any of China's bilateral trade with its major EU trading partners.

"In the first nine months of this year, despite the marked decline in trade between China and other European partners, China-UK trade was also steady and the stock of the UK direct investment in China rises steadily," Gao said.

By the end of August, the UK had 7,992 investment projects in China, with an investment of $19.61 billion.

The stock of China's direct investment in the UK had also risen rapidly from $1.35 billion by the end of 2010 to $12.8 billion by the end of 2014, according to data from the ministry.

To further promote bilateral trade ties, Gao said both sides needed to strengthen cooperation in further tapping into the trade potential, deepening cooperation in investment and big projects, and creating better environment for trade and investment.

He emphasized the importance of regional cooperation and third-party market cooperation. He also called on the UK to play an active role within the EU and promote high-tech products exports to China to create a good environment for China-UK trade and investment cooperation.

In addition, he encouraged entrepreneurs from the two countries to carry forward the "icebreaker spirit" and jointly embrace a "golden era" in China-UK trade and economic relations."

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