China is playing an increasingly important role in influencing global economic and business development, according to James Sassoon, chairman of the China-Britain Business Council.
“Whether it’s coming into the basket of reserve currencies for the world, or starting to define governance standards for multinational institutions like the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, China is playing the proper role that an economy its size and influence should,” he said.
Sassoon said he was keen to see what Chinese leaders will decide at the 19th CPC National Congress to implement policy continuity, which is important for international businesses that trade with and invest in China.
Sassoon, a member of Britain’s House of Lords and executive director of the British conglomerate Jardine Matheson Holdings, has visited China regularly over the past three decades.
He describes China as “transforming, innovative and influencing”, adding that he believes China’s biggest achievement of the past five years has been its leadership in the Belt and Road Initiative.
The initiative, launched by President Xi Jinping in 2013 to boost trade and infrastructure, has received support from more than 100 countries and organizations.
Sassoon said the initiative provides extensive opportunities for engagement, especially by British financial services and professional services firms, which have extensive experience working in the countries along the Belt and Road map, which includes Europe, Asia and Africa.
Meanwhile, he also praised the huge development progress China has made domestically, adding that the lessons it has learned about infrastructure construction and poverty alleviation can provide inspiration to many other emerging economies.
“The question of how developing countries can really drive forward infrastructure development, and the broader question of how you can take so many millions of people near poverty up to the mid-income bracket, is something China has shown it can make great progress in and can offer to share with other countries,” he said.
Sassoon, who met with Xi during the president’s 2015 state visit to the UK, praised the Chinese leader.
“His real passion and determination is to talk about the challenges China is facing. To hear him talk and speak with great detail on those issues is a striking and memorable experience,” Sassoon said.