xi's moments
Home | China-Europe

China and UK celebrate icebreakers, laud even closer ties

By Yu Yilei and Du Xiaoying in London | China Daily Global | Updated: 2019-02-04 00:54

China and the United Kingdom should break the ice of protectionism and build an open and inclusive world economy, China's ambassador to the UK, Liu Xiaoming, said in London on Thursday.

"China will continue to embrace the world with open arms and stands ready to work with other countries. We hope the rest of the world would respond in the same spirit," he said. "In a time when openness and inclusiveness are irreversible, protectionism has no future because it is against the trend of history."

The remarks were made before 400 business, political, and cultural leaders attending a Chinese New Year celebration in London that was hosted by The 48 Group Club and the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Britain.

The year 2018 marked the 65th anniversary of an "ice-breaking trip" to China in 1953 that was made by a group of farsighted people from the British business community.

Premier Li Keqiang sent a congratulatory message to the event in which he lauded the efforts of The 48 Group Club in enhancing China-UK friendship. He said he hopes the organization will continue to carry forward the spirit of the "icebreaking trip" and make greater contributions to the deepening of friendship between the two peoples.

The year 2019 marks the 65th anniversary of the establishment of the China-UK diplomatic relationship at the level of charge d'affaires. Liu said he believes there are four major opportunities for the two countries.

The first is the Chinese economy remaining robust. Its 6.6 percent growth rate in 2018 was one of the fastest among major economies and contributed nearly 30 percent of global growth. China's overall GDP has exceeded $13.6 trillion, with the increment equaling the total GDP of a middle-income country.

According to Liu, China is shifting from high-speed growth to high-quality growth. Last year, consumption contributed 76.2 percent of China's economic growth, and online retail sales increased by more than 20 percent. New industries, new products, and new business models have emerged.

The second opportunity is China's reform. He said reform has been and will continue to be a key driver of China's economic growth. In 2018, corporate and individual tax cuts totaled 1.3 trillion yuan, and industrial profit increased by 11.8 percent, compared with the previous year.

"As reform deepens in all areas, including sweeping fiscal and tax reform and strengthening of IPR protection, China will create more opportunities for the world," he said.

China's opening-up is the third opportunity. Liu said despite the steep drop in global FDI, foreign investment flowing into China totaled $135 billion, which was up by 3 percent last year.

The country is also lifting the restrictions on foreign ownership in joint-venture companies in sectors including banking, insurance, securities, auto manufacturing, and shipbuilding.

Moreover, as the Chinese people have an increasing appetite for overseas products, the country is moving from being a global seller to a global buyer.

The fourth opportunity is the Belt and Road Initiative, Liu said. In 2018, trade in goods between China and countries within the region covered by the BRI stood at $1.3 trillion, a 16.3 percent increase year-on-year. It was 3.7 percentage points higher than the growth rate of China's overall external trade.

More than 13,000 China Railway Express trains have traveled along the BRI routes to date, linking cities in China with 49 cities in 15 European countries, including London, he added.

Rona Fairhead, the UK's minister of state for trade and export promotion, said trade between the two countries is worth more than 66 billion pounds ($86 billion) annually.

"UK exports to China continue to go from strength to strength," she said. "In this new year, I very much look forward to continuing our close level of engagement with China. It is clear that there is still untapped demand for British goods and services in the Chinese market."

Contact the writers at duxiaoying1@chinadaily.com.cn

Global Edition
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349