BEIJING — Chinese and British trade ministers have vowed to improve economic ties between the two countries and expand cooperation during the 13th conference of the China-UK Joint Economic and Trade Commission held in Beijing on Aug 24.
With the China-Britain relations in ‘Golden Era’, the commission aims to implement the consensus reached by leaders of the two countries on economic and trade cooperation at the beginning of the year, pushing for new progress in cooperation in trade, investment and the World Trade Organization (WTO), said Zhong Shan, China’s minister of commerce.
Echoing Zhong’s words, British International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said Britain hopes the two countries will strengthen policy coordination, develop new growth points in trade and investment, and reach agreements on higher-level economic ties.
On trade frictions between China and the United States, Zhong said the US-ignited trade war seriously violated WTO rules and represented unilateralism and trade bullying, and the US smear in China’s intellectual property rights (IPRs) protection is not in line with the fact.
There is no winner in a trade war, Zhong said, stressing that China does not want a trade war but is not afraid of one, and will resolutely defend the interests of the country and its people.
Fox said Britain firmly supports free trade and opposes unilateralism and protectionism, and hopes China and the United States will resolve their differences through consultations.
Zhong welcomes Britain as the guest of honor to attend the first China International Import Expo scheduled in November in Shanghai and hopes Britain will make full use of the platform to increase its exports to China.
Fox said British Prince Andrew will lead a delegation to the expo and help bring more products and services into the Chinese market.
China and Britain also agreed to expand collaboration on the Belt and Road Initiative, including cooperation between companies from the two sides to explore third-party markets.
The two sides will discuss the possibility of high-level free trade agreements after Brexit, improve bilateral investment and service trade, and strengthen cooperation between local authorities and companies. Views were also exchanged on high technology and IPRs, 5G, mutual recognition of standards, legal services cooperation, and easier work visas.
The ministers also witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding on establishing China-Britain service trade working group.