On 22nd November 2023, the “Building Bridges: Advancing China-UK Economic Relations Towards a Sustainable Future OMFIF Forum,” organised by the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum (OMFIF) and generously supported by the British Chamber of Commerce in China, took place in London. The event facilitated discussions among nearly 200 high-level representatives from the political and business sectors of both China and the UK, focusing on prospects and challenges in China-UK collaboration across various fields, including macroeconomics, trade and investment, financial services, cultural education, and technological innovation.
Key figures in attendance included Chinese Ambassador to the UK Zheng Zeguang, Ambassador Caroline Wilson of the British Embassy in China, David Marsh, Co-Founder and Chairman of OMFIF, John Orchard, CEO of OMFIF, and Mr. Fang Wenjian, General Manager of Bank of China London Branch. Participants engaged in dialogue concerning areas of mutual interest for China-UK enterprises.
The forum not only provided a platform for businesses from both nations to grasp the latest policies and development directions but also aimed to enhance mutual understanding, trust, and pragmatic cooperation, contributing to the steady development of China-UK economic and trade relations.
Ambassador Zheng Zeguang delivering the keynote speech
Ambassador Zheng Zeguang, in his keynote speech, emphasized China’s commitment to advancing its unique form of modernization, particularly in the face of a complex and challenging global environment. He highlighted China’s sustained economic recovery, characterized by higher economic growth quality and a stronger emphasis on environmental sustainability. Ambassador Zheng addressed the misleading portrayals of China’s development by some Western media, asserting that China not only maintained a leading position in the global economy this year but also demonstrated more apparent medium and long-term development advantages. He underscored China’s unwavering commitment to high-level openness and the new phase of high-quality co-construction of the Belt and Road Initiative, injecting robust momentum into global connectivity and fostering world development and prosperity. Ambassador Zheng emphasized China’s dedication to peace, justice, and constructive cooperation with countries worldwide, playing a constructive role in addressing international and regional hot issues. He pointed out the direction set by the meeting between the leaders of China and the United States in San Francisco, injecting stability into a world undergoing turbulent changes. Frequent high-level exchanges between China and Europe have yielded new developments in practical cooperation across various sectors, bringing significant benefits to both parties and contributing positive energy to global peace and development. Ambassador Zheng concluded by stressing the importance of fostering a correct understanding, mutual respect, win-win cooperation, and joint challenge response in developing China-UK relations.
Video speech by Ambassador Caroline Wilson
In her video address during the opening ceremony, Ambassador Caroline Wilson emphasized that the current moment is a golden opportunity to further strengthen China-UK economic relations and consolidate the bridges between the two nations. Despite existing political differences, she urged practical cooperation between China and the UK, deepening economic and trade exchanges for mutual benefit. Ambassador Wilson particularly emphasized the importance of pragmatic cooperation in the financial and business sectors and called for more exchanges in critical areas such as sustainable development, global climate, and biodiversity. She highlighted the vast business opportunities China’s market offers to UK enterprises and encouraged both sides to create a fair and open environment to promote mutual development. Ambassador Wilson expressed confidence in the future of China-UK relations and looked forward to injecting more vitality into the bilateral relationship through sustained cooperation.
Welcome speech by David Marsh, Co-Founder of OMFIF
David Marsh, Co-Founder of OMFIF, welcomed attendees and acknowledged the immense potential for collaboration between China and the UK despite certain disruptions. He emphasized the need for dialogue to foster extensive cooperation in education, financial services, medical technology, climate change, green energy, artificial intelligence, and other areas. Marsh expressed hope for the continuous improvement of China-UK relations, contributing to the resilience of both economies and nations and creating a mutually beneficial future.
Keynote speech by Mr Fang Wenjian, General Manager of Bank of China London Branch
Mr Fang Wenjian, General Manager of Bank of China London Branch, underscored the importance of a stable and sustainable relationship between China and the UK. Despite the increasing challenges faced by Chinese and British businesses operating in each other’s countries, they have demonstrated remarkable resilience, making sustained contributions to the UK’s economic development. Looking ahead, Mr. Fang highlighted significant cooperation potential between China and the UK in various strategic areas, including clean energy and financial services. He expressed the hope for multi-level dialogue and interaction between the two nations, fostering prosperity through mutual connectivity.
The forum witnessed a vibrant atmosphere with a full house. Discussions and exchanges among participants covered geopolitical and macroeconomic issues, strengthening China-UK trade relations, market access, continuous investment, and financial services cooperation. The engaged dialogue and thought collisions added substance to the forum’s agenda.
由国际货币金融机构官方智库（OMFIF）主办、英国中国商会特别支持的“搭建桥梁：推进中英经济关系，走向可持续的未来OMFIF论坛活动”于11月22日在伦敦举办。活动从宏观经济、贸易投资、金融服务、文化教育、科技创新和等多个领域里中英合作的前景和挑战进行研讨。中国驻英国大使郑泽光、英国驻中国大使吴若兰（Caroline Elizabeth Wilson）、国际货币金融机构官方智库联合创始人兼董事长David Marsh、国际货币金融机构官方智库首席执行官John Orchard英国中国商会会长，中国银行伦敦分行行长方文建等近200位两国政商界高层代表分别围绕中英企业共同关心的领域展开讨论。
图3. OMFIF联合创始人David Marsh致欢迎辞