LONDON — The Belt and Road Initiative is at the heart of China’s drive to continue its rapid development and will offer enormous commercial opportunities to Britain, a British trade official said on May 15.
Rona Fairhead, minister of state for Trade and Export Promotion at the Department for International Trade, said in an opinion editorial published in British online news website CAPX that she is attending the Silk Road Expo in Xi’an, capital city of Northwest China’s Shaanxi province, which she considers as a “significant, rapidly growing trade event” which will see companies across the world attending in an attempt to seize the growing commercial opportunities offered by the China-proposed initiative.
“The BRI (The Belt and Road Initiative) is at the heart of China’s drive to continue its rapid development,” she said, adding that the initiative involves investing in infrastructure projects throughout Asia, and central and Eastern Europe, which are expected to be significant drivers of global growth and economic development across Asia and beyond for generations to come.
“For the UK, BRI offers enormous commercial opportunities, because our country has a strong track record of delivering excellent infrastructure that supports economic growth and development; increasing connectivity and trade, reducing costs, and improving access to public services like education and health. These principles lie at the heart of China’s plans,” said the minister, stressing that Britain can also offer value in a range of other sectors vital to make the initiative a success.
Fairhead added it is not just the B&R Initiative which lies behind the optimism for future Britain-China trade ties. “Today, technological advancements are creating a new more seamless world with global supply chains meaning that simple labels such as ‘Made in China’ or ‘Made in the UK’ are becoming redundant. We need to rethink our concepts of global trade and take advantage of the opportunities created by this change,” she said.
The minister argued that both Britain and China should recognize the value of globalization as already reflected in the record levels of Britain-China trade ties, with British exports to China growing by over 25 percent last year alone.
Fairhead said as China rebalances and reforms its economy, with the B&R Initiative as its flagship initiative, British companies, technology and services can support its development and help it achieve its ambitions.
“In Xi’an today, it is abundantly clear to see the array of global opportunities which are on offer for UK companies, in a whole range of sectors. I am determined to make sure the Department for International Trade is supporting efforts to help businesses export and trade more, in doing so securing jobs and growth back home,” she said.