Ties between China and the United Kingdom are not confined to political discussions at the government level, but also percolate down to the regional level with the involvement of individual businesses and people, officials from the two countries said.
The officials were speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony of the China-Britain Innovation Industry Park, or CBIIP, recently in Qingdao, East China’s Shandong province. The park aims to foster economic cooperation between China and the UK. The two countries’ relationship entered the “Golden Era” two years ago, on the occasion of the 45th anniversary of establishing diplomatic ties.
“The investment environment in China offers huge opportunities for UK’s advanced manufacturing and innovative technology industries,” said Mark Wareing, minister-counsellor at the British embassy in Beijing, on the sidelines of the ceremony.
Wareing said that many UK companies produce products and technology for the future and the British government is striving to bring these companies to China so that they can gauge and understand the massive opportunities not just in first-tier cities but in other regions also to help China achieve its ambitious “Made in China” initiative.
Spread over an area of 15.1 square kilometers, the Qingdao park is designed to help China attract British investment in sectors such as medical care, technology transfer applications, advanced manufacturing, creative design and cultural tourism.
“The park will allow us to explore opportunities for small and medium-sized UK enterprises and attract them to China,” Wareing added.
Yu Yuantang, deputy director of the European Affairs Department at the Ministry of Commerce, said the new park will serve as a platform to explore regional cooperation.
He said that regional cooperation is a strategic consensus reached by leaders of both China and the UK and it will play a key role in fostering bilateral trade ties.
In October 2015, the Ministry of Commerce and Britain’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills signed a memorandum of understanding to strengthen regional cooperation in trade and investment between the two sides. On the basis of this MoU, both sides also established a long-term cooperation mechanism.
Besides Qingdao, other Chinese cities like Nanchang, Ningbo and Xuzhou are expected to join the mechanism and enter into practical cooperation with the UK.
The CBIIP will be based in an international economic cooperation zone in the Qingdao West Coast New Area, the ninth State-level new area in China’s “new district strategy.”
The zone has carried out practical cooperation with countries such as Germany, Finland, Japan and South Korea, and served as a platform to boost international cooperation, said Li Fengli, director of the administrative committee of the Qingdao West Coast New Area.
The Sino-German Ecopark is one of the most successful examples in the zone. Launched in July 2013, it is the only strategic cooperation park in China supported by the Chinese and German governments. To date, the ecopark has attracted $4 billion of foreign investment from seven of Fortune Global 500 companies and 15 German hidden-champion enterprises.