April 14th, 2019
China UK cooperation promotes development of Belt and Road Initiative
(From chinareports.org.cn, Correspondent: Geng Ling) The 2nd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation will be held in Beijing in late April. In addition to government representatives from the United Kingdom, a number of well-known institutions and business leaders also attended, such as Ms. Catherine McGuinness, Chair of the Policy and Resources Committee of the City of London, Mr. Gregory Hodkinson, Chairman of Arup Group, Mr. Stephen Perry, Chairman of the 48 Group Club, Mr. Charles Bowman, Chairman of China Business Group of PwC UK and former Lord Mayor of the City of London, among others, fully demonstrating the desire and enthusiasm of the British side to participate in the development of the Belt and Road.
APECF Executive Vice Chairman Xiao Wunan meets Lord James Sassoon (right), Chairman of the China-Britian Business Council
Since last year, the UK Parliament, industry organizations and many enterprises have expressed their desire to join China’s Belt and Road Initiative and have discussed how the UK can use its unique advantages to play a role and jointly develop the third party market. In November 2018, PwC and other institutions held a seminar on “Co-consultation, Co-construction, Sharing and Win-win - Lessons learnt and future opportunities for UK-China cooperation in BRI countries” in Beijing. Leaders of the Asia Pacific Exchange & Cooperation Foundation (APECF), China International Contractors Association, Export-Import Bank of China, Bank of China as well as the British Embassy and some British-funded enterprises expressed their views at the seminar which achieved good results.
Xiao Wunan (center), Executive Vice Chairman of APECF, meets Mr. Gregory Hodkinson, Chairman of Arup Group (right)
In February this year, Mr. Xiao Wunan, Executive Vice Chairman of APECF, led a delegation to London to continue discussions on these topics with PwC, Arup Group, the China–Britain Business Council and other institutions, achieving constructive results. During the meeting with Mr. Hodkinson, Chairman of Arup Group, he said the soft power of the British government and enterprises involved in the Belt and Road projects could help the Chinese government and enterprises. Britain’s influence in third countries, in-depth understanding and integration of local politics, legal system and culture can contribute to the development of Chinese enterprises. Mr. Xiao Wunan introduced the historical reasons of the development of the Belt and Road Initiative, and shared his thoughts on resolving current problems. For project approval and comprehensive assessment standards, he suggested that a series of measures can be proposed, for example, adding consideration indexes to projects such as benefits to the environment and social culture.
Mr. Xiao Wunan (center), Executive Vice Chairman of APECF, meets Mr. Stephen Perry (right), Chairman of the 48 Group Club
Mr. Stephen Perry, Chairman of the 48 Group Club, is an old friend of the Chinese people. In 2018, he was awarded the “China Reform Friendship Medal” by President Xi Jinping. He has championed "Sino-British friendship and promoted Sino-British economic, trade and cultural exchanges. He proposed that with help of the 2nd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, the 48 Group Club will work with PwC, Arup Group and other companies to help China’s top think tanks explore ways China can cooperate with developed countries in finding effective cooperation mechanisms in third countries and form a win-win scenario and a long-term sustainable development model. In meetings with Lord James Sassoon (right), Chairman of the China-Britian Business Council and Executive Director of Jardine Matheson Holdings Limited, and Lord Charles Powell, previously Private Secretary and an adviser on foreign affairs and defence to British Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and Sir John Major, they were confident that British companies will take part in the Belt and Road and were particularly willing to promote cooperation between Jardine Matheson Holdings Limited and China. They suggested giving priority to some initiatives in Indonesia.
Mr. Xiao Wunan (center), Executive Vice Chairman of APECF, meets with Lord Charles Powell (left)
In mid-March this year, a delegation led by APECF, PwC and Arup Group visited Indonesia. Chines institutions, including China Communications Construction Group and China Railway Construction Corporation, together with Indonesian company ASTRA, achieved preliminary results in cooperative development of Indonesia’s infrastructure, agriculture, tourism and fisheries.
Delegation members meet with Indonesian local institutions in Jakarta
In mid-late March this year, Mr. Peter Estlin, Lord Mayor of the City of London, came to China and visited Shenzhen, Beijing and Shanghai. In talks with Bank of China, China Construction Bank, Ping An Group and China Merchants Bank, they mainly focused on how to use the service system of the city of London to build a service model for the Belt and Road. During his meetings with Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan, Beijing Mayor Chen Jining and Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong, he also fully expressed these aspirations. During a visit to Britain in February, Mr. Xiao Wunan, Executive Vice Chairman of APECF, also had a good exchanges with Mayor Estlin on how to cooperate with China's Belt and Road projects, especially the development of the third party financing platform.
Mr. Xiao Wunan, Executive Vice Chairman of APECF, meets with Mr. Peter Estlin (right), Lord Mayor of the City of London
The cooperation between China and Britain on Belt and Road projects is groundbreaking. First, because many Belt and Road countries, such as Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia, all have long historical and cultural origins with Britain, their national governance models, financial and legal systems can be traced to the same origin. Second, the United Kingdom has a comprehensive financial market and specialized intermediaries, which can provide high quality services for all Belt and Road countries and lay a solid foundation for optimizing project investment and improving efficiency. Sino-British cooperation in developing third-party market has become an important trend of the Belt and Road in the future.
Mr. Xiao Wunan, Executive Vice Chairman of APECF, meets Mr. Richard Burn (right), Trade Commissioner of British Embassy in China
The British Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, Finance Minister and Trade Minister all hope to sign a bilateral cooperation agreement with China at an early date. Mr. Richard Burn, Trade Commissioner of British Embassy in China, has repeatedly expressed his optimism and hope for future cooperation.