Huge potential between China and the North of England is highlighted

By XING YI in Manchester | China Daily Global | Updated: 2023-12-01 09:18
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The 6th China-UK Economic and Trade Forum in Manchester on Wednesday. [Photo provided to]

Ambassador to the UK emphasizes synergies in high-value, green sectors

Great potential for collaboration between China and the United Kingdom lies at the regional level and in sectors involving high-quality development, senior government officials and business leaders said during two forums held in Manchester this week.

Zheng Zeguang, China's ambassador to the UK, speaks at the forum. [Photo provided to]

The 6th China-UK Economic and Trade Forum, one of the major annual gatherings in the UK for businesspeople involved in bilateral trade and investment between the two nations, was held by the China Chamber of Commerce in the UK for the first time outside of London on Wednesday.

Themed on openness and cooperation, the forum attracted more than 200 representatives from a wide range of companies and organizations who discussed new pathways for China-UK business collaboration.

UK Minister of Business and Trade Dominic Johnson speaks at the forum. [Photo provided to]

In his keynote speech, China's Ambassador to the UK Zheng Zeguang said that despite a complicated and daunting external environment, China has been advancing its modernization through a Chinese path and pursuing high-quality development, and the economy has been steadily recovering and improving since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first three financial quarters of 2023 have seen China's GDP grow by 5.2 percent year-on-year, and the International Monetary Fund raised its projections for China's economy in early November, which it says is set to grow by 5.4 percent this year after a strong post-pandemic recovery.

Ren Hongbin, chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, sends a video speech to the forum. [Photo provided to]

"More importantly, China's economic growth is now higher value-added and greener," said Zheng, who added that new-energy vehicles, lithium-ion batteries, and photovoltaic products have become the new icons of Chinese exports and that the total exports of these products during the first three quarters had expanded by 41.7 percent.

During the past decade, China-UK economic and trade cooperation has steadily developed and the total volume of trade has doubled, from around 50 billion pounds ($63 billion) in 2013 to more than 100 billion pounds last year.

Chief Executive of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority Eamonn Boylan speaks at the forum. [Photo provided to]

Zheng noted that local economic and trade cooperation is part and parcel of overall China-UK relations, and that China is now Greater Manchester's third-largest trading partner.

"More and more Chinese enterprises are turning their eyes to investment and business opportunities in this part of the UK," he said. "More and more cooperation projects are rolling out in infrastructure, urban upgrading, and net zero … I hope we can strengthen the links at the local level. The two sides can seize opportunities, harness key projects, synergize development strategies, and tap comparative advantages, so we can expand our converging interests and deliver more tangible outcomes."

Fang Wenjian, chairman of the CCCUK and general manager of Bank of China London Branch, speaks at the forum. [Photo provided to]

The 2023 Report on the Development of Chinese Enterprises in the UK, which was compiled by the China Chamber of Commerce in the UK for the fourth consecutive year, was launched at the forum.

According to this year's survey, more than 40 percent of Chinese companies chose to invest in the UK because of its access to potential customers and the market in Europe. Additionally, more than 56 percent of Chinese companies are attracted by the UK's stability and transparency in the political, legal, and regulatory environment.

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