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China-UK economic outlook positive, ambassadors say

By XING YI in London | | Updated: 2023-11-23 22:51
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China’s Ambassador to the UK Zheng Zeguang delivers a keynote speech at a forum in London titled Building Bridges: Advancing China-UK Economic Relations for a Sustainable Future on Nov 22, 2023. [Photo/Chinese Embassy in the UK]

China's ambassador to the United Kingdom, Zheng Zeguang, delivered a keynote speech at a forum in London on Wednesday titled Building Bridges: Advancing China-UK Economic Relations for a Sustainable Future.

The event, which was hosted by the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum, attracted around 200 representatives from major UK financial institutions, government, and academia.

In his speech, Zheng said that while some Western media outlets have portrayed a gloomy outlook for China's development, its economy continues to rebound positively, with higher-quality and more environmentally friendly growth, and he said its medium- and long-term development advantages have become more apparent.

The International Monetary Fund has recently raised its projections for China's economy, which is set to grow by 5.4 percent this year after a strong post-pandemic recovery.

Zheng added that the meeting between the leaders of China and the United States in San Francisco last week injected stability into a world undergoing tumultuous change, and he said frequent high-level exchanges between China and Europe have seen practical cooperation in various fields, bringing immense benefits to both sides.

When it comes to developing China-UK relations, Zheng said it is crucial to establish correct understanding, uphold the principle of mutual respect and win-win cooperation, and jointly face challenges.

Caroline Wilson, the UK's ambassador to China, also delivered a keynote speech at the event, via video, in which she said the Chinese market has provided great opportunities for British companies, and that both sides should walk in the same direction in providing a fair and open environment for mutual development.

According to the UK's Office for National Statistics, the total trade in goods and services between the UK and China was 108.7 billion pounds ($136.4 billion) in the four quarters to the end of Q2 2023, an increase of 8.5 percent year-on-year.

Fang Wenjian, chairman of the China Chamber of Commerce UK, said in his speech that, despite a challenging business environment driven by high inflation and slow economic growth, Chinese companies had managed to increase their profitability and, according to the chamber's recent survey, reported UK revenues at a four-year high.

Fang said the survey confirmed that Chinese companies are, in general, optimistic about the UK, and view the country as a significant market for their global strategy, which is in line with their confidence in the future China-UK relationship.

The forum included four panels, where experts on geopolitics, finance, sustainable development, and emerging technologies discussed how China and the UK can carry out collaboration in those areas.

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