Britain eyes closer cooperation with China on Belt and Road

Updated 2018-02-02 14:43:00 Xinhua

British business leaders said the UK is eyeing closer cooperation with China on the Belt and Road Initiative, especially in the finance and professional services sectors.

Closer cooperation between the two countries can help Belt and Road-related projects go better and faster, said Douglas Flint, special envoy for the Belt and Road Initiative of the British Treasury, while attending the Wuhan/Hubei-UK Business Networking Event in Wuhan, capital of central China's Hubei Province on Wednesday.

"The cooperation will benefit both China and the UK, and all other countries," said Flint, emphasizing that financial services should be given more attention by the two sides.

Britain has a long history of professional services, especially financial services and services from project management to fund management. All of these services are essential for the Belt and Road Initiative to be marketable to global investors, said Flint.

"I think the financing service capabilities of the UK can help China expand the pool of funds available for the Belt and Road," said Flint.

Flint's remarks were echoed by Carolyn Fairbairn, Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry, who said the Belt and Road Initiative offers tremendous opportunities for the bilateral relationship over the coming years.

"China is in an exciting chapter with very high growth dynamic transformation in the economy. And the UK is in a new chapter as well. We are building global relationships around the world, so we think there are great opportunities to build the relationship," said Fairbairn.

She believed that "even though the UK is already working with China on the initiative, there are much more we can do."

Britain has great strengths in the engineering and professional services that China needs to make successful major projects along the Belt and Road, Fairbairn said.

Meanwhile, Lord Sassoon, Chairman of China-Britain Business Council, also believed that the two countries can work more productively on the initiative.

"The Belt and Road Initiative is going to transform the economy of much of the world. What we are so interested in from the UK perspective is the complementarity between China's construction of engineering muscle and British financial services and project management services," said Sassoon.

"The Belt and Road Initiative is going to be a contributor to raising economic growth across many countries. China's construction expertise and British professional services will make the initiative even more successful," he said.

More than 40 British entrepreneurs and business leaders from the finance, trade, medicine, education, communication, and transportation sectors attended the event.

British Prime Minister Theresa May arrived in Wuhan early Wednesday to start her three-day visit to China.

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