Chongqing- On Mar. 24, the British Chamber of Commerce held a Webinars to address the topic: “What is the current state and future of the UK-China relationship?” for all British investors as well as foreign business in China. Liu Xiaoming, H.E. Ambassador to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, had addressed the questions by St. John Moore, Chair of the British Chamber of Commerce in China, which related to the COVID-19 pandemic in business aspects.
British business community has a long history in China, and this year marks the 40 anniversary for British Chamber in China. St. John Moore stated at the beginning that today (Mar. 24), he is so willing to see there is a low infection rate in China, which symbolized the victory of winning the epidemic within China. However, the members of the British Chamber, as well as other foreign investors, were affected by this outbreak of COVID-19; they want to know what is available to support and what does the Chinese government do about the economic recovery.
Mr. Liu expressed congratulations to the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the British Chamber in China. He said that during this challenging time, there are intensive conversations between China and the U.K.’s top leaders, and the Chinese will stay in solidarity with the U.K., and our friendship will be strengthened.
There are five aspects of collaboration between the U.K. & China during the fighting against COVID-19 battle. Initially, China and U.K.’s top leaders had intensive communication recently, President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Boris Johnson had phoned twice in 20 days. Secondly, there are close communication in ministry level and share experiences. Chinese experts and doctors formed consultation team to answer questions online with 18 European countries, and shared their experience of combating the virus. Thirdly, there is an ongoing collaboration between China & U.K.’s colleges, scientific institutions, and businesses. Fourthly, in the critical moment of the COVID-19 outbreak in China, U.K. donated medical supplies to China, and now it is the time for China to give back. And China will send 1-2 medical teams to the U.K. and share knowledge & experience. Fifthly, China and the U.K., as members of G20, will work on multiculturalism and a shared future for all humanity.
For the epidemic impacts on business, Mr. Liu suggested the adverse effect is short-term and temporary, the economy will recover quickly, and the Chinese economy is still strong. The Chinese government is taking methods to stimulate the economy by the resumption of work and production. 6 policies (6 methods) announced by the government ensured the market to open-up wider, and it will benefit to a business. When St. John Moore asked about the equality of implementation of 6 methods, Mr. Liu answered that all businesses are treated equally in China.
For foreign companies, international investment law has renewed and implemented in 2020. “I feel optimistic about the economy,” said Mr. Liu, “we are engaging here in the U.K. for free, open, transparent, international trade. We are active and encourage business between 2 countries.” Many companies such as Geelly, Beijing Construction are working well in the U.K., and some companies are coming to the U.K. to seek opportunities. Also, Huawei’s 5G plan in the U.K. will send a critical message to the prime minister to understand the ambition of the collaboration plan.
St. John Moore ‘s last two questions were relevant to the climate change, and the COVID-19 impact on the Belt & Road Initiative.
Mr. Liu replied that mutual political trust is the key; respect each other on an equal basis is essential. Biological diversity protection on wildlife and ocean cleanness will have an impact on climate change. There is a linkage between climate change and environment; China and the U.K. can become the leadership on climate change and take a significant role in participating to this agenda. Even though the virus brought the crisis to the world, China will fight against the virus and try turning crisis into opportunities and making the Belt & Road Initiative stronger. In contrast, St. John Moore said that they would catch up with the opportunities in the next year or after.
At the end of the webinar, Mr. Liu suggested a long-term business and stayed in optimism for industry in China. St. John Moore stated that most members were clear optimistic about activity by the end of 2019, though they have concerns due to the pandemic; their optimism is underneath after this conversation.