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Schwab: UK-China trade ties won’t change after Brexit

Cai Xiao
Updated: Jun 27,2016 9:36 AM     China Daily

Global economic fundamentals are sound and the world will find new solutions to deal with the unexpected British vote to leave the European Union, said Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum.

“The fundamentals are good, with the world economic growth rate at 2.5 percent to 3 percent, and with China’s at more than 6 percent,” Schwab said on the eve of the 10th Summer Davos Forum, which started in Tianjin on June 26.

Some 1,700 politicians, entrepreneurs and scholars from around the world are attending the three-day conference, officially known as the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting of the New Champions.

“What happened two days ago in Great Britain is one challenge more for the global economy, but I believe we will find new solutions to respond to it,” Schwab said.

Britons voted 52 to 48 percent on June 23 in favor of ending their country’s 43-year membership in the 28-nation bloc.

Schwab said UK-China trade relations have been good and will not change substantially because of the so-called Brexit.

“Maybe the UK for a moment will be a big uncertainty, but I hope UK-China relations will continue to be intensive and friendly,” he said.

“The Fourth Industrial Revolution and Its Transformational Impact” is the theme of this year’s forum.

The concept that Schwab has introduced is characterized by speedy technological innovation and the digital transformations of many industries.

“Before coming here I visited Shenzhen and Guangzhou, and I saw China is playing a big role in some areas in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, such as drones,” he said. “I am optimistic about the capability of China to use the opportunity of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

He said the main challenge for China is how to restructure the old economy, such as moving to high value-added products from low value-added ones.

Schwab said China’s 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20), which is based on transformation and upgrading, provides guidance to enter the new industrial revolution.

Huang Xingguo, mayor of Tianjin, said a new round of scientific innovation is accelerating the transformation of the manufacturing industry.

“It is essential to recognize and learn to cope with new technologies in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which will create both opportunities and risks,” said Jing Ulrich, vice-chairman for Asia Pacific at JPMorgan Chase.

She said that while businesses need to come up with new strategies to maintain their competitive edge, individuals have to acquire new skills and knowledge to continue being productive members of the labor force.

Ultimately, the winners will be those who are able to adapt the quickest and utilize technology to its fullest potential, Ulrich said.