Relations back on fast track

China Daily | 作者: Cui Hongjian | 时间: 2013-12-10 | 责编: Li Xiaoyu
Adjust font size: + -

 

by  Cui Hongjian

 

Cameron’s fence-mending trip has opened the door for the UK and China to tap the potential of the complementary economies

 

China and the UK need to reach a comprehensive agreement that only cooperation can achieve mutually beneficial results. The close exchanges between the two countries in political, social and cultural fields will form the basis of future cooperation.

 

David Cameron, prime minister of the United Kingdom, has wrapped up a three-day visit to China with a bumper diplomatic harvest. A series of remarks and moves he made before and during the visit, as well as his high pre-visit expectations, the large delegation and handsome trade order he brought with him, and the use of a Chinese micro blog to make public his agenda, have formed a more positive image of the UK among the Chinese people.

 

Cameron’s visit, which integrated fence mending with achieving economic goals, was a show of the UK’s sophisticated and adept diplomatic skills. But behind the skilled diplomacy was the desire to derive trade benefits from its dealings with China.

 

The UK plunged into recession because of the sluggish global economy and the European Union debt crisis. But in the first three quarters of this year, it has recorded economic growth thanks, in no small measure, to its trade with and investment from China.

 

Trade between China and UK increased from $39.2 billion in 2009 to $63.1 billion in 2012. It has witnessed a 7.5 percent year-on-year growth in the first 10 months of this year, much higher than the average 0.5 percent growth in trade between China and the EU during the same period. The UK has replaced the Netherlands as China’s second-largest trading partner in the EU. And Chinese investment in UK in the past 18 months has exceeded the entire volume of China’s investment in the UK over the preceding 30 years. In 2012 alone, China’s investments and acquisitions in the UK added up to more than $8 billion, nearly one-eighth of its full-year outward investment. The huge investment from China has to a large extent helped the UK ease its fiscal austerity-induced funds crunch.

 

On the first day of his visit, Cameron oversaw the signing of 10 cooperation documents with China in fields such as investment, technological innovation, finance, culture and healthcare. Nearly 500 British businesspeople, together with British and Chinese leaders, witnessed the signing of seven projects and numerous memorandums of cooperation at a China-UK business summit.

 

The benefits the UK gets from current bilateral economic and trade cooperation is small compared with what it is likely to get from its long-term cooperation with China. The reform measures that the Chinese authorities announced at the Third Plenary Session of the Communist Party of China’s 18th Central Committee will undoubtedly boost the economic development of EU member states, including the UK, in the future.

 

The UK has an edge in the green economy, sustainable development, and the financial and service sectors, but its development prospects will, to a large extent, depend on whether it can benefit from China’s still fastpaced economic growth.

 

The UK government had done a lot of groundwork to derive the maximum benefits from Cameron’s visit. Cameron held a high-profile meeting with Chinese investors at No 10 Downing Street and his government held high the “trade liberalization” banner during the settlement of Sino-EU disputes on photovoltaic products, which were followed up by some British officials visiting China.

 

At his meeting with Cameron, Premier Li Keqiang said he hoped cooperation between the two countries would move like a high-speed train. But this hope will only be realized through deeper cooperation built on solid foundations and guided by adept diplomacy.

 

China and the UK need to reach a comprehensive agreement that only cooperation can achieve mutually beneficial results. The close exchanges between the two countries in political, social and cultural fields will form the basis of future cooperation. The fact that China and the UK complement each other in industrial, trade and investment structures offers room to them to expand their cooperation.

 

China and the UK have rich experience in strengthening bilateral relations. The challenge for the UK government, however, is to wisely use the experience to guide its cooperation with China.

 

Source: China Daily http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/opinion/2013-12/10/content_17163177.htm

 

0