By Daniel Hunter

Intellectual Property Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe has today (Monday) urged UK businesses to boost their trade links with key trading partner China by leading the first ever ministerial delegation to the country focussing on intellectual property (IP).

Joining the Minister on the 5-day trip (1 September — 5 September 2014) will be some of the UK’s highest profile companies and a number of representatives from IP-intensive industries.

The visit begins today with the 2nd UK-China IP Symposium being held in Beijing, hosted in partnership with Chinese State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO). The symposium provides an opportunity for over 100 British and Chinese businesses to network and build relationships with government officials, focussing on the challenges they face in managing and protecting their IP in China.

Baroness Neville-Rolfe will announce that the UK and China will do joint work focused on topics related to global patent reform and making IP systems more efficient for users.

The visit forms part of UK government’s ambitious target of doubling UK exports to £1 trillion by 2020, and within this to double UK exports to China from their 2010 level to $30 billion. UK exports to China were worth $24.5 billion (£15.7 billion) in 2013.

It is hoped the visit will mean UK business will feel more confident exporting their IP to China and better understand where they should turn to for help and advice, while the UK aims to continue building a close and productive relationship with the Chinese government on IP issues.

Baroness Neville-Rolfe said:

"There is huge potential for British firms to do business with China, generating new jobs and economic growth in both countries. While many UK companies already have strong trading relationships with China, we must build on these links and work hard together to continue to reduce any barriers to doing business.

"That is why I am determined we do all we can to make life as easy as possible for our businesses by improving our bilateral relationships with China on intellectual property matters, essentially the ownership of ideas and the reduction of counterfeits and design theft. This symposium is going to be an unrivalled chance for Chinese and British businesses to share their experiences, discuss business issues with government officials and learn about intellectual property in both of our countries."

China-Britain Business Council Chief Executive, Stephen Phillips said:

"Protection of IP is important to every business that has invested time and effort in its development. CBBC’s member companies are keen to do more business with China, but they want to be sure that their world-class innovation and knowledge is properly protected. We are encouraged by the clear commitment of China to ensure better IP enforcement - something that is really important as China continues to move up the value curve.

"This week of activities in Beijing, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Chongqing and Hong Kong will build upon the productive policy dialogue and address the practical, on the gound implementation with companies and stakeholders throughout China."