Speech by H.E. Ambassador Liu Xiaoming at the CBI and Huawei Chinese New Year Dinner: Fly High and Sail Far
Mandarin Oriental, London, 27 January 2020
Vice President Zhang,
My Lords and MPs,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a real delight to join you, once again, at the Chinese New Year Dinner jointly hosted by CBI and Huawei to celebrate the Year of the Rat.
Today is the third day of the Chinese New Year. On behalf of the Chinese Embassy in the UK, I would like to extend our Chinese New Year greetings to all of you present tonight. I wish you a happy and prosperous Year of the Rat!
The year 2019 was a year of bumper harvest for the Chinese and UK business communities. Our cooperation was deeper and more substantial.
• The tenth China-UK Economic and Financial Dialogue was successfully held. A total of 69 outcomes were reached, including the launch of Shanghai-London Stock Connect, the resumption of British beef export to China and the signing of an agreement on China-UK cooperation in third markets.
• China-UK trade in goods exceeded $86.3 billion, growing by 7.3% year-on-year, and setting a new record.
• The stock of direct mutual investment exceeded $20 billion in each country. Chinese investment in the UK has expanded from traditional areas such as financial services, trade and energy to high-end manufacturing, infrastructure, creative industry and telecommunications.
The steady progress and fruitful outcomes of China-UK business cooperation could not have been achieved without the perseverance and cooperation of the business communities of both our two countries.
CBI, as one of the most influential business organisations in the UK, has played an active role in advancing collaboration between Chinese and British businesses.
Huawei UK is an excellent representative of Chinese companies. It has created huge job opportunities for the local community, contributed to the telecommunications sector in the UK and played a positive part in the economic and social progress here in this country.
As we celebrate the fruitful outcomes of China-UK business cooperation in 2019, I would like to express my sincere thanks to CBI and Huawei!
My thanks also go to the former Chancellor of the Exchequer. Mr. Hammond has made outstanding contribution to the business partnership between our two countries. He attended twice the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation as the special representative of the Prime Minister. He co-hosted the tenth China-UK Economic and Financial Dialogue with Vice Premier Hu Chunhua. After leaving public office, he still cares for and supports China-UK relations. I suggest we give him a big hand.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The year 2020 is an important year for both China and the UK. There will be more opportunities and broader space for wider, higher and deeper business cooperation between China and the UK. And there will be real benefits for both sides.
I would like to borrow the three letters of CBI to share with you what I think are the three key words for 2020.
The first letter “C” stands for comprehensive. China and the UK should enhance cooperation in a comprehensive range of areas.
In 2020, China will complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all aspects, and the UK will build a “global Britain” after Brexit.
With its GDP reaching $14.4 trillion and per capita GDP crossing the $10,000 line, China will create enormous opportunities for all countries in the world, including the UK, in terms of market, investment and growth.
China is a vast country with a large population. Different regions have unique features in economic development. To achieve economic development in different regions in an integrated way, China has rolled out strategies of integrated development in regions that cross provincial boundaries. These include
• the triangular region between Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei,
• the Yangtze River Economic Belt,
• the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area,
• and the Yangtze River Delta.
The UK has also made vigorous plans for regional development, such as Midlands Engine and Northern Powerhouse. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland each has its own competitive industries.
China and the UK could match our development strategies and carry out all-round cooperation with a view to advancing the comprehensive development of our two countries.
From 17 to 19 February, the fifth China-UK Regional Leaders’ Summit will be held in Birmingham. It will bring together hundreds of Chinese and British government representatives and leaders in business, education, culture, and science and technology. It will be an opportunity to share development plans, explore cooperation and pursue common growth. We look forward to your active participation in this Summit.
The second letter “B” stands for BRI. China and the UK should take full advantage of this platform.
In building BRI, China follows the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. This Initiative is open, transparent, inclusive and win-win for all. It is highly popular and widely recognised in the world.
During the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation last April, 283 outcomes were reached. As Mr. Hammond said, “The Belt and Road Initiative has tremendous potential to spread prosperity and sustainable development” and it is “a project of truly epic ambition”.
BRI could bring Britain’s expertise, knowledge, creative ideas and services together with China’s business models, capital and capabilities in infrastructure building and commercialisation. We could pool our comparative strengths to form synergy and work for both countries. In other words, deeper cooperation on BRI and in third markets will deliver win-win results to both our two countries and beyond.
The third letter “I” stands for innovation. China and the UK should promote innovation-driven development.
The new round of scientific and technological revolution and industrial transformation is having a huge and profound impact on every aspect of human society.
Both China and the UK have always valued innovation and the pioneering spirit. Our two countries can fully leverage existing bilateral platforms and resources. These include:
• the Joint Commission on Cooperation in Science, Technology and Innovation,
• the Research and Innovation Partnership Fund,
• the Flagship Challenge Programme,
• the Innovation Industrial Park,
• and the three competitions organised and funded by Innovate UK and China’s Jiangsu, Shanghai and Guangdong.
Through these platforms and resources, China-UK cooperation could cover the complete chain of innovation, from basic research to commercialisation.
There are many areas where China and the UK can conduct deeper cooperation. These could be smart and robot technology, low-carbon and green manufacturing, remote sensing and satellite technology, new energy, agricultural seeds, advanced medical treatment, antibiotics resistance, population aging, creative economy and financial risks management. Such cooperation will enable us to deliver more “golden fruits”.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
There is a most quoted line from Tang Dynasty poetry. It goes like this:
“In the happiness of festival, thoughts of folks back home double.”
As we celebrate the Chinese New Year here in the UK, our hearts are with those back home fighting the new coronavirus, especially the people of Hubei who are on the very frontline of this battle.
The Chinese Government has gone all out to fight the disease since its outbreak. A series of prevention and control measures have been taken. President Xi Jinping has made important instructions on many occasions and called a meeting of the top leadership two days ago to map out further plans of epidemic prevention and set up a taskforce to address the crisis. Now, the whole country has been mobilised to fight the virus.
In face of the grave difficulties, people have shown great love for each other. People from all walks of life here in the UK have expressed their sympathy and willingness to donate. We are deeply touched and greatly encouraged.
We are confident that, under the strong leadership of the Central Government of China, and with the broad support of the international community, including the UK, we have the resolve and capability to beat the virus.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Chinese classic Book of Rites has these words:
“In a race of one hundred boats, those who row hard will win.”
The world is amid profound changes unseen in a century. Only those who abandon outdated mindset and follow the trend of the times could find major opportunities. Only mutual respect, mutual learning and mutual support could help us translate major opportunities into great progress.
I am confident that, as long as the business communities of our two countries work together and work hard, we will write a new chapter of China-UK business cooperation, and contribute more “golden fruits” to the China-UK “Golden Era”!