On 10 December, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling unveiled a landmark agreement for a 50% boost in the number of flights allowed between the UK and China. This new deal allows for a huge expansion in routes from regional airports – potentially boosting local economies by hundreds of millions of pounds by opening up new business and tourism opportunities.
Richard Graham MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary China Group, issued the followed statement:
“For some time the number of flights between China and the UK haven’t reflected the huge increase in Chinese students studying here, or trade and investment both ways, let alone the growing numbers of tourists.
“So the 50% increase in the numbers of flights – and not just to London either – will make a difference to access, people-to-people relations and overall growth. Direct flights have already started to Qingdao, home of China’s oldest and best known beer, and there are many more destinations that can now be reached without transit in Beijing or Hong Kong, the leading gateways.
It’s all part of a growing relationship, and this is only the start.”
For more information on the deal, please visit https://www.gov.uk/government/news/britain-open-for-business-as-uk-and-china-further-relax-limits-on-flights
It is a great delight to be back at the House of Commons for this GBCC event to talk about the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.
For the past weeks I have been busy sharing information with my British friends about this epoch-making Congress. I published articles on newspapers and delivered a few speeches. And I was on ITV’s “Peston on Sunday”. I want to get more people to know why this Congress is significant to both China and the world. I hope to elaborate on China’s new thinking, new blueprint and new measures for further development.
I was honoured to have attended the Congress in Beijing in person. And I feel equally honoured to be here today to share my thoughts and observations with the British Peers and Members of Parliament.
Last week, China announced plans to ease foreign investment restrictions in its financial markets.
- Chinese Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao told a press conference on Friday that foreign businesses will be allowed to own up to 51% of shares in joint ventures in securities, funds or futures. The cap will be phased out over three years.
- Restrictions on investment in Chinese banks and financial asset management companies will also be removed. After three years, foreign investors will be allowed to own up to 51% of shares in joint ventures in life insurance, with the cap removed in five years.
The news was announced during a meeting of Chinese and U.S. state leaders, but the Chinese Finance Ministry has confirmed it applies to all countries.
The Asia Programme Team at the City of London welcomes this news, and hopes it will lead to stronger ties in Financial and Professional Services between the UK and China. This represents an opportunity not only for firms in market, but also those currently considering making an entry.
China’s new leadership was unveiled on 25th October at the conclusion of the once-every-five-year Communist Party Congress, with Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang starting a second term in office. Five new members have joined Xi and Li in the Politburo Standing Committee (PBSC), which is the most important political body in China (see their biographies overleaf). These new members will soon be appointed (if not already) as the heads of the top legislature, the propaganda & ideology department and the anti-corruption body, followed by a wider shakeup of senior government officials (at the Government meetings in March 2018).
All of the seven PBSC members, including Xi and Li, came from an educational background of humanities or economics, whereas previously engineers dominated the elite politics. This may be due to an ever urgent need for the leadership to address domestic social issues (e.g., income inequality and insufficient social service), which Xi said has now become the biggest challenge threatening the Party’s ruling.
On 28 March 2017, APPCG Chair Richard Graham MP hosted a delegation led by Mr. Baimachilin, Vice Chair of the National People’s Congress Ethnic Affairs Committee, who also signed the Westminster Hall book of condolence for the recent attack on Parliament.
APPCG members openly discussed a number of topics with the delegation, enquiring about Chinese policy in ethnic minority regions Tibet and Xinjiang, the protection of religious freedoms and of the Tibetan language, and counter-terrorism policy in Xinjiang.
On 31 January I hosted our annual All Party Parliamentary China Group Chinese New Year reception here in Parliament. This is always a good moment to take stock of the UK-China relationship, and we were honoured with speeches by Greg Hands, Minister of State for Trade & Investment and Chinese Ambassador Liu Xiaoming, as well as from our two event sponsors the China-Britain Business Council (CBBC) and VisitBritain.
Today is the fourth day of the Year of the Rooster. The feeling of celebration is still in the air.
In the Chinese culture, the rooster stands for renewed vigor and good luck. So I would like to begin by wishing everyone good health and prosperity in the New Year!
This is the sixth APPCG Chinese New Year Reception that I have attended since I came to London as Chinese Ambassador. Every time is very enjoyable.
On Thursday 19 January 2017, the House of Commons Library published “China’s domestic politics and foreign policy“, an exploratory analysis of trends – drawing on the views of selected experts – in the domestic politics and foreign policy of the People’s Republic of China.
Jump to full report >>
UK sees record number of foreign investment projects
The Department for International Trade has said that a record number of investments were made by overseas companies in the UK in the year to April 2016. The department recorded 2,213 inward investment projects over the period, up 11% on the previous year, and its data shows the UK is the most popular destination in Europe for foreign firms. The US was the biggest source of funds, backing 570 projects, but Britain was also Europe’s biggest recipient of investment from emerging markets, with 156 projects backed by Chinese firms and 140 boosted by Indian cash. Projects funded from Latin America more than tripled, up 240%, and East European investment increased 131%.
Source: BBC News Bloomberg The Daily Telegraph Sky News
Comment from Richard Graham MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary China Group:
“The 11% rise of UK inward investment highlights the openness of our economy, but also the importance of both US and China (which includes Hong Kong) to our inward investment: China contributed 156 of the total 2,213 projects in the year ending April 2016 (DIT stats). We should remain open to inward investment.
“It is also good to see highlighted the growth of Indian investment, and in % terms from a low base, South America and Eastern Europe.
“This APPG welcomes Chinese inward investment, and strongly supported the Hinkley Point deal, which is vital to our nuclear capacity and our overall domestically generated energy. There will be other important infrastructure opportunities for Chinese and other overseas investors, and I expect positive announcements on this during the Autumn Statement.”
This is a cross-post from a recent article written for the Times Red Box by Richard Graham MP, MP for Gloucester and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary China Group.
The divisions in British thinking about China have long been there, but are more visible now after our implicit change of government.
On the one side is British real politik: some politicians, businesses, economists and civil servants who see growth via trade and investment as the overriding basis for our relationship. They certainly talk about the rule of law, critical to the safety of our investment, and go through the motions of listening to the Dalai Lama, dissidents, human and animal rights campaigners – but little more. Their bottom line is we need their investment, and our value is in welcoming it without restriction – the most open economy in the West, almost the cheerleader of the Chinese “go global” policy.