On 21 February, I hosted our annual All Party Parliamentary China Group Chinese New Year reception in Parliament. We were honoured with speeches from Liam Fox, Secretary of State for International Trade, the Chinese Ambassadaor Liu Xiaoming, we well as from our two event sponsors the China-Britain Business Council (CBBC) and VisitBritain.
Our annual reception dinner is a good opportunity to reflect on the progress of UK-China relations throughout the year, whether at governmental, parliamentary, business or people to people level. The strategic partnership is in good shape, made clear by Theresa May’s Prime Ministerial visit to China only a week earlier. There has been positive bilateral exchanges and formal meetings leading up to the recent People-to-People and Economic & Financial dialogue. As the International Trade Secretary reminded us, UK goods exports to China rose by 35% last year and the increasing strengths of London as a technology centre are attractive to China. Furthermore, the appointment of Richard Burn as the new HM Trade Commissioner for China reflects the developing value of the trade relationship. There have also been a number of announcements on UK-China creative and cultural collaborations.
This year, despite the general election, we made further progress towards our goal of sending 120 MPs to China during this parliamentary term. We also held 18 events on varied topics relating to the bilateral relationship, including ivory and EdTech. We do need more volunteers to host Constituency China-Business seminars to help us reach our goal of 50.
We greatly appreciate the support of our sponsors: Arup, Cambridge Assessment, City of London, HSBC, Swires and EDF Energy. Without them, we could not achieve our main objective of getting so many parliamentarians to China and enabling them to see for themselves what is happening there.
I deliberately invited some of the companies which accompanied the PM on her trip to China, some household names, some less so: Riversimple, UtterBerry, Kiddlycious, BESA, Busy Bees, Delta Motorsport Ltd., ConnectChina Ltd, Medopad, Nemi Dairy, Rooney Fish, World First UK, McLaren Automotive and Blippar UK.
We welcomed in the Year of the Dog with a wide number of bodies including the Great Britain-China Centre, a non-governmental body which promotes the rule of law in China. The harrowing account written by Peter Humphreys in the Financial Times demonstrates the ongoing importance of their work.
I am grateful to all our Officers, the Chinese Embassy and the NPC, as well as the HKETO who have continued to arrange visits for parliamentarians and parliamentary researchers to visit Hong Kong.
The APPCG depends on good partnerships to help keep parliamentarians well informed on China, and act as a platform for discussion on all issues of importance to the UK-China relationship
I look forward to encouraging as many parliamentarians as possible joining the APPCG in 2018-19.
You don’t have to be a dog (like me) to believe this is going to be a good year for the UK + China!
Thank you, and Happy Chinese New Year / Xin Nian Quai Le / Sun Nin Fai Lok!
Richard Graham MP
Chair of the All Party Parliamentary China Group
A selection of photos from the event can be viewed below, and for any enquiries please contact us.