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China and UK eye stronger relations

Cecily Liu/Li Wensha
Updated: Nov 11,2016 7:58 AM     China Daily

Top Chinese and UK officials discussed the next step for intensifying the economic and trade relations at a high-level dialogue in London on Nov 10.

The eighth UK-China Economic and Financial Dialogue brought the most senior Chinese delegation to Britain this year and involved a series of events, including discussions on trade, financial services, infrastructure and energy. Billions of pounds of projects were showcased.

A series of announcements on infrastructure were expected to be made including CITIC and Chinese Developer ABP’s investment of 320 million pounds ($397 million) in the 1.7 billion pound London Royal Albert Docks project and up to 40 million pounds of investment by the UK government in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank based in Beijing, according to the official British government website.

Vice-Premier Ma Kai and British Prime Minister Theresa May affirmed the desire of both sides to strengthen the “golden era” of relations as they met on Nov 9.

Ma passed on the best wishes from President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang to May. He said that the meeting between President Xi and May at the G20 Leaders Summit in Hangzhou in September was another affirmation of China and the UK’s “golden era” of relations.

The term “golden era” was coined by President Xi and former UK Prime Minister David Cameron last year during President Xi’s state visit to the UK, when almost 40 billion pounds worth of deals between the two countries were agreed.

May said that she is very glad to meet President Xi in Hangzhou, and said she wanted China to know that Britain was “open for business” as it prepares for life outside the European Union.

“As we take the next step in this golden era of relations between the UK and China, I am excited about the opportunities for expanding trade and investment between our two countries,” said May.

Ma said it is obligatory for World Trade Organization members to observe Article 15 of the Protocol on China’s accession to the WTO. China strongly opposes any practice to continue comparing the cost of China’s exports with that of a surrogate country.

According to Article 15 of the Accession Protocol of China to the WTO, other WTO members are allowed, in anti-dumping cases, to compare the cost of China’s exports with that of a surrogate country (third country). However, this practice was only to be maintained for 15 years, meaning it is coming to an end in 2016.

Ma said China expects the UK to maintain objectivity on this matter, and fulfill its obligations in due time and in a comprehensive and thorough way.

May said the dialogue is an important part of the golden era of relations and she expects more Chinese investment in the UK.

Apart from investment, CITIC Construction will also establish its UK HQ at Royal Albert Dock. When completed, the project is expected to create 30,000 jobs and become a commercial hub of a comparable scale to the City of London and Canary Wharf.

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