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Belt and Road Initiative sets up new framework for UK-China cooperation

Staff Writer |
Since the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was launched, it has provided an important framework for UK-China cooperation in a number of areas, such as transportation, infrastructure, financial and professional services, said Mark Hedley, regional director for Greater London at the China-Britain Business Council (CBBC).

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Britain is the first Western country to issue RMB sovereign bonds and the first major Western country to apply for full membership of the China-initiated Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

Another key project of cooperation is London-Shanghai Stock Connect which is expected to be launched to provide a direct channel for equity trading between the two countries.

In terms of infrastructure, another key milestone was the maiden journey of the Yiwu-Barking train in 2017, the first direct freight railway route linking China and Britain. It provides a more cost-saving shipping option for Chinese and British exporters.

The CBBC is a British organization helping its member companies to develop commercial links with Chinese ones.

"As a membership organization, our network includes a wide spectrum of British companies providing different products and services that are in significant demand from BRI investors and contractors," said Hedley.

He said that the CBBC had previously published a number of reports highlighting opportunities along the Belt and Road for British businesses and organized events to publicize the opportunities created by the BRI.

Private finance is increasingly necessary alongside state capital to fund BRI projects, Hedley said, adding that banks such as Standard Chartered and HSBC have been increasingly providing financial instruments to fund new projects.

British companies have much experience in risk management, including pre-project due diligence, project insurance and post-project restructuring to help mitigate some of the risks involved in BRI projects, he said.

Besides, Britain has some of the world's best engineering, construction and design companies like Arup, Atkins, Mott Macdonald and John Wood Group which are actively involved in a wide range of BRI projects, covering areas such as infrastructure, energy, water resources, and planning for new cities and development zones, he said.

Other areas in which Britain excels include legal services, international standards, education and training, marketing and public relations, he said.

China will host the second BRI forum in Beijing in late April.

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