British business community voices hope for stronger trade ties with China

(Xinhua) 08:30, January 28, 2022

LONDON, Jan. 27 (Xinhua) -- The British business community hopes that Britain and China will continue efforts to strengthen trade ties to benefit the peoples of both countries, as the two mark the 50th anniversary of ambassadorial diplomatic relations this year.

The remarks were made Wednesday during the "Icebreakers" 2022 Chinese New Year celebration jointly hosted online by the 48 Group Club, China Chamber of Commerce in the UK and China-Britain Business Council.

In his keynote speech, Chinese Ambassador to Britain Zheng Zeguang said the two countries should leverage their respective strengths, consolidate cooperation in "traditional" areas including trade, investment, finance, manufacturing and infrastructure, expand into new areas such as health care, FinTech, green energy, digital economy and creative industries, and explore third markets, so as to create more highlights in their business partnership and bring more benefits to the peoples of both countries and beyond.

Lord Hammond of Runnymede, former chancellor of the Exchequer, said in his speech that the last two years of the pandemic have been a challenging period for the global economy, especially for international trade and Britain-China relations.

He noted that China is the second largest economy in the world and it therefore enjoys an important position in Britain's import and export market, while Britain remains a destination of choice for Chinese businesses investing in Europe.

"As China creates huge incremental market demand, it will be an important partner for post-Brexit UK," he said. "We should focus on what we have in common, on cooperating for the mutual benefit of our peoples as well as free and fair trade."

John Edwards, British trade commissioner for China, said Britain is determined to strengthen the Britain-China trade relationship and attract more Chinese investment in Britain.

"Looking into the future, Britain will be working with Chinese companies to expand electric vehicle manufacturers, renewable supply chains to help Britain build the most exciting green market in the world and to make a joint contribution to the defining thing of our time -- the green economy," he said.

Stephen Perry, chair of the 48 Group Club, said China and Britain continue to set new records regarding trade levels, thus building a solid foundation for economic and trade cooperation.

"We look forward to China sharing its innovation and development achievements and contribution to the advancement of global economic recovery and the development of relations between Britain and China," he said.

In 1954, Jack Perry, founder of the London Export Corporation, led a group of 48 British businessmen on a historic trade mission to Beijing and helped deliver one of the first modern-day trade links with China, effectively breaking the U.S.-led Western embargo on the newly founded People's Republic of China.

The 48 men were the precursors of the 48 Group Club. The trip became known as the "Icebreaking Mission," and the club members were called "Icebreakers." 

(Web editor: Xia Peiyao, Liang Jun)


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