The Belt and Road Initiative and Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area construction offer new opportunities for businesses from the United Kingdom to grow and the nation is keen to giving play to its advantages and participating in them, the British consulate-general in Guangzhou said.
“The Belt and Road Initiative supports our desire for promoting global trade worldwide and benefiting less developed communities. British expertise will support China’s ambitions to work with economies along the Belt and Road,” Karen Maddocks, British consul-general in Guangzhou, said.
“We see in the Greater Bay Area, there will be similar opportunities and I hope these opportunities will be open to international partners,” she told China Daily in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of the Fourth China Smart City International Expo 2018, held in Shenzhen on Aug 21.
The UK excels in project management, financial and professional services and also environmental impact consultancy, Maddocks said, all of which are important sectors for supporting the implementation of the initiative as a large part of the program involves international cooperation in infrastructure development and operation.
“We also have lots of experience in areas that are particularly relevant to the Greater Bay Area, things like maritime services and port development,” she added.
The Greater Bay Area is a grand national project to promote regional integration and to develop a world-class economic and innovation powerhouse. It consists of nine mainland cities in southern Guangdong province－Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Zhongshan, Dongguan, Huizhou, Jiangmen and Zhaoqing, plus Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions, covering a population of about 68 million.
Within the region, Maddocks places particularly high hopes on cooperation between Shenzhen and London, in such fields as financial services and smart city development.
While the highly anticipated stock link between Shanghai and London is expected to be launched this year, Maddocks said she is also expecting a similar program between Shenzhen and London.
Shenzhen’s Party chief Wang Weizhong visited London in June, during which the two cities signed a memorandum of understanding, specifically on promoting financial services sector.
“(The two cities) agreed to work together on several areas, including the stock exchange link. So hopefully in the future, we will see a Shenzhen-London link,” she said.
Meanwhile, as negotiations about Britain’s exit from the European Union continues, Maddocks said the country’s trading relationship with China is “very important now and will be even more important after Brexit”.
“We want to increase global trade and reduce barriers to trade, so it’s very important that we build relations with countries outside the EU and China is one of our most important trading partners.”
Last year, bilateral trade in goods and services between the two countries reached a record 67.5 billion pounds ($86.6 billion), a 13.8 percent increase from 2016.