By Marcus Leach
Chancellor George Osborne today (Thursday) hosted official talks with China’s Vice-Premier of the State Council, Wang Qishan, as part of the UK/China Economic and Financial Dialogue.
Vice-Premier Wang was accompanied by a high-level delegation of Chinese ministers and business leaders.
Talks covered China’s role, as part of the G20, in rebalancing the global economy. Other issues on the agenda included financial regulation and international economic policy coordination. Minister for Trade and Investment, Lord Stephen Green led discussions on the UK-China commercial relationship.
Vice-Premier Wang today gave China’s backing for London to become an offshore centre for renminbi (RMB) trading. This will make it easier for Chinese companies to do business here and facilitate Chinese inward investment.
Signing a Memorandum of Understanding on Enhancing Co-operation on Infrastructure with Mr Wang Chao, Vice-Minister, from China’s Ministry of Commerce, Minister for Trade and Investment, Lord Green said:
“This new agreement on infrastructure marks an important step forward in the UK-China relationship as Partners for Growth. UK companies are already finding significant success in the growing number of high-value infrastructure opportunities available as China continues on its steady path of development.
“The UK is also very keen to attract Chinese inward investment into priority infrastructure projects; this is important in maintaining the UK's global competitiveness, securing growth and creating jobs. “
The agreement will create a UK-China Infrastructure Task Force - a high-level forum to highlight investment opportunities in each other’s respective markets. It will enable more effective engagement with Chinese enterprises and Sovereign Wealth funds, whilst helping UK companies access High Value Opportunities in China. The task force will include UK Trade & Investment, Infrastructure UK and the Chinese Ministry of Commerce.
The signing of this agreement followed an Infrastructure lunch at Downing Street with the Chancellor, Lord Green and Lord Sassoon, as well as leading UK and Chinese CEOs.
New ministerial dialogue
Following the official UK/China Economic & Financial Dialogue, Lord Green is chairing the first meeting of a new ministerial dialogue with Vice-Chairman Peng Sen of China's economic planning ministry, the National Development & Reform Commission (NDRC).
This initiative, announced during the UK-China Summit in June, is intended to develop growth and economic cooperation between the two countries. The NDRC is responsible for developing and implementing China's Five-Year Plan as well as much business regulation, including that related to inward investment. Talks will cover complementarity between China’s 12th Five-Year Plan and the UK’s Growth strategy, including cooperation on macroeconomic policies and structural reforms; Infrastructure and urban regeneration; increasing the two-way flow of trade and investment, including in life sciences, the hi-tech sector and partnerships to promote and commercialise innovation.
UK firms continue to achieve success in China:
Hongkong Land, a subsidiary of Jardine Matheson Holdings Ltd, and Beijing Municipal Government announced the development of the Wangfujing International Brands Centre.
Sir Henry Keswick, Chairman of Jardine Matheson Holdings said:
"Hongkong Land and its parent, Jardine Matheson, are very honoured to have the privilege to develop the Wangfujing International Brand Centre. Our vision is to create in Beijing a world class integrated luxury retail and commercial development, with a Mandarin Oriental hotel. This landmark development will become a magnet for locals and visitors alike, and will contribute to the evolution and growth of Wangfujing, the leading retail and leisure street in China."
Hongkong Land, a subsidiary of the Jardine Matheson Group, won a £280 million tender to build an international brands centre on Wangfujing, China's most prestigious shopping street in the centre of Beijing. This retail development project will transform Wangfujing into a world class commercial centre comparable to Regent Street in London, and will bring in the world’s top brands, including prestigious British brands such as Burberry, Paul Smith, Anya Hindmarch and Dunhill.
With plans to invest a further £270 million on construction and further development over the three year project, due to be completed at the end of 2014, more opportunities for British experts and consultants are anticipated.
Standard Chartered Bank China and Heilongjiang United Oil & Chemicals announced a underwriting agreement.
Chairman of Standard Chartered plc, Sir John Peace, said:
“As a British bank with an unbroken presence in China, extending back more than 150 years, Standard Chartered has played a leading role in the growth of trade denominated in RMB and the Hong Kong RMB deposit and bond issuance market. We were involved in, and support, the Chinese government’s recent announcements to further enhance the role of Hong Kong as a centre for offshore RMB and we believe that there is an important and complimentary role for London, reflecting the increasing international importance of China and its currency. In this light, we welcome today’s announcements.
“Similarly, Standard Chartered Bank’s deep and long standing relationships with our clients in China is demonstrated by the inclusion in today’s Economic and Financial Dialogue announcement of our Strategic Cooperation Agreement with Heilongjiang United Oil & Chemicals, in which we will underwrite USD900 million trade facilities to support Heilongjiang United Oil & Chemical’s trading business and capital markets activities.”