Thank you very much Vice Premier Wang Qishan. And let me thank you again for welcoming us to Beijing today to this Economic and Financial Dialogue.
I agree with you that we have had very friendly and successful talks, covering a whole range of issues of relevance to both our countries.
China is now the world’s second largest economy. Its contribution to prosperity in the UK is becoming increasingly important. That is why we have come to China as the strongest ministerial delegation ever to visit from the UK. We look forward to this afternoon, when the Prime Minister David Cameron and Premier Wen will take part in the UK-China summit.
Today the Vice Premier and I talked about the economic relationship between our two countries. We both agreed to further strengthen bilateral cooperation. We both agreed to continue implementing economic policies conducive to sustainable economic growth. The UK has committed to a clear, credible, ambitious and growth-friendly medium-term fiscal consolidation plan which will ensure fiscal sustainability. And as the Vice Premier has said China is committed to accelerate the restructuring to further strengthen the role of domestic demand. This action by both sides will support confidence and mitigate risks to recovery.
We also agreed to work together through the G20. We both strongly support the G20 as the premier forum for our international economic cooperation, where the world’s largest economies work together to support their mutual aspirations and ambitions. We both welcomed the ambitious agreement reached by G20 Finance Ministers & Central Bank Governor at Gyeongju, Korea, to reform the IMF’s quota and governance that will help deliver a more effective, credible and legitimate IMF. At Gyeongju we also agreed to strengthen multilateral cooperation to promote external sustainability and the full range of policies conducive to reducing excessive imbalances and maintaining current account imbalances at sustainable levels. We need to move further forward in Seoul this week. I hope that China will seize the opportunity to play a leading role on this.
We also discussed the trade links between our countries. It is worth remembering that China is the world’s largest exporter of goods and the UK is the world’s second largest exporter of services. This complementary in our relationship will provide a strong foundation to strengthen our trade and investment links. Both sides will uphold the principles of free trade and resist all forms of protectionism. We will work together to achieve Doha – the UK sees 2011 as a key window of opportunity for achieving this, and I hope China will take a leading role in driving this agenda forward at the G20 Summit in Seoul.
We also discussed how to encourage Chinese investment in the UK and how to enable Chinese companies to do business in the UK. The UK is already one of the most open economies in the world to trade and inward investment and welcomes more Chinese investment, including from sovereign wealth funds. We noted that UK firms are doing well in China’s growing market. For example, UK firms play a key role in China’s financial markets. UK banks account for 23 per cent of the foreign banking market. Our insurers are among the leading foreign players.
And we agreed that it is not just bilateral trade that matters. The UK and China can work in partnership elsewhere, and we discussed how we can support greater partnerships between UK and Chinese companies in third countries. We discussed the business environment in both our countries. There are lots of opportunities in China’s growing market and I highlighted some areas where British companies believe China’s business environment could be improved. We also noted the challenges in the business environment and will work to address this. I encouraged China to respond constructively to the views of the business community. We noted the importance of effective protection of intellectual property rights to promote innovation and encourage bilateral trade, especially in high-technology goods and services. We agreed ambitious plans for deepened technical collaboration on intellectual property administration and enforcement. We also agreed to establish a working-level dialogue on tax issues for businesses engaged in bilateral trade and investment.
We discussed the economic outlook for our countries. I outlined the decisive steps we have had to take to deal with Britain’s deficit. And I assured the Vice Premier that Britain’s economic and financial strengths will be further enhanced. Our business sector remains top-class with world-beating research, innovation and enterprise. London is the world’s largest and leading international financial centre and I was pleased that we have agreed to strengthen our financial sector collaboration. We both agreed that further deepening of financial services ties between the UK and China will benefit both sides. We reiterated our commitment to work together to drive forward the reform of international financial regulation and supervisory standards, and strengthen transparency and accountability in the financial sector.
We are announcing an expansion of our unrivalled programme of bilateral technical collaboration and joint research on financial sector reform and development. This includes development of the offshore renminbi market, SME financing, corporate and government bond market development. We welcome the fact that China will soon allow foreign-invested banks to conduct bond underwriting business. We agree to explore the possibility of cross-cutting Exchange Trade Funds on our respective stock markets. We both reiterated our support for mutual listings arrangements that will allow Chinese companies to list in London and foreign firms to list in China.
It also gives me great pleasure to announce a deepening of our financial services ties through several commercial deals. The first securities joint venture in China for a British bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, whose Chairman is part of the UK delegation accompanying David Cameron and I. The bancassurance partnership between Hengan Standard Life and Bank of China, subject to the finalisation of commercial negotiations. And the granting to Aberdeen Asset Management of their funding quota for investment in Chinese markets.
So, Vice-Premier, let me conclude. Successful talks, between ever closer economic partners. Once again, thank you for hosting us. And I look forward to the 2011 dialogue in the United Kingdom.