China and the UK must catch up on missed opportunities to strengthen bilateral relations post-Brexit

2020, March 25
China and the UK must catch up on missed opportunities to strengthen bilateral relations post-Brexit 25th March 2020

Wednesday 25th March, Beijing — Yesterday the British Chamber of Commerce in China had the privilege to interview Liu Xiaoming, the Chinese Ambassador to the United Kingdom in a webinar, in which over 500 have joined to hear updates on the current and future of Sino-UK relations. Ambassador Liu highlights that the British Chamber plays an important role in promoting economic and trade relations between the two countries and presented an early congratulations to the British Chamber for its 40th Anniversary since it first established in China in 1981.

With regards to the effort to combat COVID-19, China has been sharing learnings and experiences with the UK through high-level policy communications with cabinet secretaries; knowledge-sharing from medical experts who have been fighting the virus in China, as well as developing new vaccines between Chinese and British businesses and scientific research institutions. As key players in the global political arena, both leaders have shown immense willingness to work through multilateralism to building a community for a shared future, especially through the UN, WHO and G20.

Ambassador Liu fully acknowledges the negative impact that businesses are faced in China, but these challenges are nonetheless “short term and temporary”. The fundamentally strong Chinese economy means that it will recover soon. To fight against the battle of resuming business operations, Liu highlights the six stimulus policies that have been put in place to support businesses, which include a shortened negative list and greater tax-free benefits and loan support. Liu adds that these measures are applicable to both domestic and foreign businesses, as “businesses are all treated as equal in China”.

When addressing the second phone conversation in a month between President Xi and Prime Minister Johnson on Monday, Liu feels heartened and encouraged to see that the top leaders of both countries maintain very active and intense communications, both on fighting the COVID-19 battle, and on further promoting bilateral trade relations post-Brexit.

“When Chinese people talk about Wei-Ji (危机/ crisis)…, we are thinking about how to turn these crises into opportunities”. Liu emphasises that the UK remains a “natural partner” in the bilateral relationship, especially on Belt and Road Initiative and Climate Change – where China and UK can match their strengths and potentials. “British businesses have the entrepreneurship, that they are always optimistic about the future, and this is the strength and the cultural DNA of the UK that are shared in China.” China remains very committed to the Golden Era and Ambassador Liu is confident and optimistic that Sino-UK relations will grow stronger and deeper.

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