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UK-China forum encourages bilateral cooperation

By XING YI in London | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2024-03-21 22:51

Zheng Zeguang, China's ambassador to the UK, gives a keynote speech at the UK-China Business Forum 2024 in London on Wednesday. [Photo provided to China Daily]

With trade between China and the United Kingdom exceeding $100 billion for two consecutive years, China's ambassador to the UK encouraged business leaders to tap the potential of bilateral cooperation at the UK-China Business Forum 2024 held in London on Wednesday.

In his keynote speech, ambassador Zheng Zeguang shared his takeaways from attending the two sessions, the annual sessions of the National People's Congress, the nation's top legislature, and the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, the country's top political advisory body, in Beijing earlier in March.

"Anyone who follows China must study the documents adopted at the two sessions," said Zheng to more than 150 British business leaders in the forum organized by the China-Britain Business Council, or CBBC, one of the UK's major national business networks promoting trade and investment with China.

Zheng summarized the main messages from the two sessions in four keywords: confidence, development, openness, and cooperation.

By setting the GDP growth target at 5 percent for this year and laying out ten major tasks, Chinese leadership showed confidence in the country's economic prospects, Zheng said.

The trajectory of China's economy remains positive, as it enjoys strong political leadership, a supersized market, a full-fledged industrial system, an abundant and high-caliber labor force, and constantly improving sci-tech innovation capacity, he said.

Ambassador Zheng Zeguang addresses around 200 British business leaders in the forum organized by the China-Britain Business Council. [Photo provided to China Daily]

In terms of development, Zheng said the buzz term at the two sessions – "new quality productive forces" – captures the priorities for China's future development in a nutshell.

"This means we will foster emerging and future-oriented industries, including hydrogen power, new materials, and innovative drugs. We will create new growth engines such as biomanufacturing, commercial spaceflight, and the low-altitude economy. We will also open up new fields such as quantum technology and life sciences," explained Zheng.

The Chinese leadership reaffirmed their commitment to openness during the two sessions, emphasizing China's dedication to advancing higher-standard opening-up and fostering mutually beneficial relationships.

"On foreign trade, we will continue to optimize relevant policies, and host major trade fairs," said Zheng. "On foreign investment, we will further shorten the negative list … and ensure national treatment for foreign-funded enterprises."

The government work report, delivered during the two sessions, said all market access restrictions on foreign investment in manufacturing will be abolished, and restrictions in services sectors — such as telecommunications and healthcare — will be further reduced.

China's independent and consistent foreign policy, with a focus on peaceful development, mutual respect, and win-win cooperation was stressed again.

"We will remain firm in pursuing a strategy of opening up for mutual benefit," Zheng said. "China is ready to pursue the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative, and the Global Civilization Initiative with other members of the international community, and build a community with a shared future for mankind."

The organizer of the forum, CBBC, highlighted that with China's open business environment and initiatives aimed at enhancing foreign trade and investment, the Chinese market offers significant opportunities for businesses already operating in the market, as well as those seeking to enter or expand their presence in China.

More than 20 leading industry experts offered valuable perspectives on the opportunities within key sectors of the China market, such as new energy, electric vehicles, biosciences, and healthcare.


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