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Market access for UK business in China: get your voice heard

BritCham / CBBC
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Following the referendum decision to leave the European Union, discussions around future trade relations between the UK and China have entered a new phase. With this in mind, The Department of International Trade (DIT) has been seeking engagement to understand the business environment and market access issues faced by British business in China. 
Consequently, all major British business membership organisations in China convened to launch a process whereby feedback can be produced for the benefit of the Government, British business and other stakeholders. On November 3rd a launch for this project was held at the British Ambassador’s Residence in Beijing, hosted by Richard Burn Director General for the Department of International trade who endorsed the project. 
Aims of the process
The aims of the process are the following:
•         To provide a channel to represent the views and experiences of members into UK and Chinese policy-makers and regulators.
•         To help identify and prioritise policy and regulatory issues or developments with the greatest potential to benefit UK business seeking to invest into, enter or grow their business in and with China, and vice-versa.
•         To provide a mechanism to advise the DIT on impact and risks related to changes to the business landscape in China.
•         To communicate and provide feedback to members.
Stakeholders and partners
Six British business membership organisations will be involved in the process:
•         The British Chambers of Commerce in China: China, Shanghai, Southwest and Guangdong
•         The China Britain Business Council (CBBC)
•         The Confederation of British Industry (CBI)
A working group steering committee has been established which includes Nicholas Holt (BCCC/Knight Frank), Jeff Astle (CBBC), Michael Ryan (CBBC), Guy Dru Drury (CBI) and Steven Lynch (BCCC) Julian MaCormac (BCCC/Rolls Royce), Phil Roebuck, (BCCC Guangdong), Jeremy Sargent (BCCC Guangdong), Ben Metcalf (BCCC Southwest), Richard Hand (BCCC Southwest). The steering committee is responsible for the overall process, including managing stakeholder relations, methodology and quality control.
The Department of International Trade (DIT) while working closely with the steering committee, is not a formal stakeholder in the process. The project is therefore not an internal DIT entity such as those set out in Cabinet Office guidelines on the Classification of Public Bodies.
Wider stakeholders including trade associations, member and non-member British businesses involved in China, Chinese businesses and regulators and the Chinese government.  
Process activity
To address the project aims, working groups will be set up around the following sector groups:
•         Advanced manufacturing and transportation 
•         Education
•         Financial and professional services 
•         Healthcare
•         Infrastructure and property
•         Retail/F&B
Each of these sector groups has set up a sub-committee including representatives of the British Chamber of Commerce in China, the CBBC sector leads and for relevant sectors, representatives from the Shanghai, South West and Guangdong chambers. The groups will also liaise and work closely with the sector leads from DIT who will not officially be a member of the working groups, but rather ex-officio participants. 
The key initial objectives of the working groups are to identify:
•         The current state of the sector for British business in China;
•         The working group’s collective view on the priority issues that limit the ability of UK firms to conduct business in China;
•         The working group’s collective view on wider dependencies that limit the ability of UK firms to conduct business in China;
•         The working group’s collective recommendations on what needs to change to improve the ability of UK firms to conduct business in China.
In order to meet these objectives, the sub-committees will meet and carry out secondary research to produce a consistent “state of the sector” output that will identify the parameters of the sector in relation to British business in China. Following the secondary research, key questions will be identified which will then be applied to working group members, in a structured focus group discussion. Group discussions with the wider membership will initially be carried out in Beijing, but for certain sectors this could alternate with the other cities going forward.
In terms of frequency, working groups will meet on a quarterly basis but can choose to meet in any extraordinary session.
Limitations and disclaimers
•         While the six membership organisations account for a significant proportion of British business in China (approximately 1,500 small and large organisations), there is acknowledgement that it will not be fully representative.
•         The process will not involve lobbying or advocating on behalf of any individual company
As members, your input on this project would be greatly appreciated. If you have any feedback please do not hesitate to reach out to any of the contacts listed below. 
For more details of this report, please contact Dominic Feroze:

Key contacts

Nicholas Holt

British Chamber of Commerce in China (BCCC)



Steven Lynch

British Chamber of Commerce in China (BCCC)



Ben Metcalf

British Chamber of Commerce Southwest (BCCSW)


Barry Kirkwood

British Chamber of Commerce Guangdong (BCCGZ)


Phil Roebuck

British Chamber of Commerce Shanghai (BCCS)


Dominic Feroze

British Chamber of Commerce in China (BCCC)



Jeff Astle

The China-Britain Business Council (CBBC)


Michael Ryan

The China-Britain Business Council 



 Guy Dru Drury

The Confederation of British Industry  (CBI)




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