On the morning of July12, Ambassador Liu Xiaoming attended the conference on Unlocking the Belt and Road Investment Opportunity co-hosted by Thomson Reuters and Standard Chartered and delivered a keynote speech entitled Sow the Seeds of "Golden Fruits" for the Belt and Road Initiative. More than 100 guests were present, including Baroness Fairhead CBE, Minister of State for Trade and Export Promotion, the Department for International Trade, Sir Douglas Flint CBE, Belt and Road Envoy of the UK Treasury, David Craig, President of Financial & Risk, Thomson Reuters, Jonathan Bewes, Vice Chairman of Corporate & Institutional Banking, Standard Chartered, and representatives of British investment and financial services.
Ambassador Liu delivers a speech
Ambassador Liu said, "This year marks the fifth anniversary of the BRI. The past five years have seen this Initiative producing fruitful outcomes. China and 88 countries and international organizations have signed 103 documents for cooperation on the BRI. Why has the BRI become so popular in such a short period of time? I believe this is because the BRI is an initiative for peace and development and it upholds the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits." The Ambassador further explained, "Extensive consultation" means treating each other as equals. In BRI cooperation, from drawing blueprints to project implementation, everyone is entitled to the opportunities, and everyone should join in to build a future of development. "Joint contribution" means being open and inclusive. The BRI is not forced unto anyone, nor does it exclude or target against any country. Rather, it is a courageous exploration of paths to cooperation and common development. "Shared benefits" means win-win cooperation. In the past five years, there has been a boom in trade and investment between China and countries along the route. The BRI has created new opportunities for win-win cooperation and provided new driving forces for world economic growth.
Ambassador Liu said that China and Britain are "natural partners" on the BRI because their economies are inherently complementary. But to deliver real benefits, the two countries still need to work hard and work together. In order to take China-UK cooperation on the BRI to a new level, both countries need to break new grounds for an open world economy, create new highlights in financial cooperation, and contribute new ideas to the BRI. This will contribute more "golden fruits" in the China-UK "Golden Era".
Baroness Fairhead delivers a speech
Baroness Fairhead noted in her speech that the Belt and Road Initiative, the largest infrastructure programme since America's Marshall Plan, is an opportunity the British government must seize. The UK government firmly supports the BRI and will help the UK businesses to benefit from it. She said, "It was President Xi's visit to the UK in 2015 that saw him proclaim the 'Golden Era' of UK-China relations with David Cameron and the setting up of the UK-China infrastructure alliance. We've consistently been one of the most forward-leaning countries on the Belt and Road. We're the first-and so far only-G7 country to sign up to its financial principles. We were the first to join China's Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank."
She noted that the UK government has appointed a Belt and Road envoy and Her Majesty's Trade Commissioner for China. UK Export Finance, an export credit agency, can now provide up to￡25 billion in support of Belt and Road projects where UK companies participate. UK firms are world leaders in finance, insurance, architecture, design, feasibility assessment, project preparation, and engineering advisory services. The UK is the world's second-largest exporter of services. The UK government's goal is to position London as the Belt and Road's prime international finance and service centre.
Sir Douglas Flint speaks at the event
Sir Douglas Flint said in his remarks that since the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was announced five years ago, the scale of its ambition and its evolution has been fascinating to follow. The BRI offers transformative commercial opportunities to meet the demographic, environmental and climate change challenges of our age as well as enhancing economic growth, connectivity and prosperity throughout Eurasia, East Africa and beyond. Britain has its expertise in project design and management and enjoys unique advantages in financing, risk management and legal services. Its participation can help with "the crowding in of investment funds and enhancing the size and the viability of the project pipelines". Currently, Britain is establishing an Infrastructure Financing Exchange, which will attract more companies to participate in the BRI.
After the speeches, Ambassador Liu gave an interview to Reuters on Belt and Road opportunities and other questions.
Ambassador Liu giving an interview to Reuters