China Seeks Financial Cooperation With U.K.

Chinese Vice Premier Ma Kai (center) and Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond pose with delegates for a group photo during the UK-China Economic Financial Dialogue at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on Dec 16, 2017. Photo: FRED DUFOUR / POOL / AFP


China wants to deepen financial and investment links with the U.K. as Britain seeks to boost two-way trade once it leaves the European Union.

In an investment boost for U.K. businesses operating in China’s Belt and Road Initiative, the U.K. government announced up to 25 billion pounds ($33.3 billion) in financial support, including loan guarantees, as part of the bilateral trade talks this weekend in Beijing.

Other agreements included speeding up the London-Shanghai Stock Connect initiative, which will mean investors in each country will be able to trade shares listed on the other’s stock exchange. Steps to establish a bond connect between the two countries that will help open up the bond market to mutual trading were also announced along with a new feasibility study on making China accessible to U.K.’s asset management sector.

Vice Premier Ma Kai said both countries should also push cooperation to a new level in areas including nuclear-power generation, manufacturing, high-speed rail, high-end manufacturing, and trade and investment liberalization.

“The United Kingdom has obvious financial advantages and its financial development is robust,” Ma said at the ninth annual U.K.-China Economic and Financial Dialogue in Beijing on Saturday. “Both sides have great potential for cooperation. Make financial cooperation a new bright spot in the ‘golden age’ of Chinese-British relations.”

Ma is holding talks with U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, with the two signing about 1.4 billion pounds ($1.9 billion) of trade and investment deals. China currently buys 16.8 billion pounds a year of British exports. That compares with the 230 billion pounds of goods and services Britain sells to the EU.

“These talks show the U.K. is truly open for business and we look forward to continuing the Golden Era of U.K.-China relations,” Hammond said in a statement.

Hammond is in China for two days of talks, accompanied on the visit by Business Secretary Greg Clark, Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney, and London Stock Exchange Chief Executive Officer Nikhil Rathi, as well as several junior ministers and a wider business delegation.

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