Date
28 March 2017
Xi Jinping will arrive in London Monday for a four-day state visit during which many new business deals are expected to be signed between British and Chinese firms. Photo: Bloomberg
Xi Jinping will arrive in London Monday for a four-day state visit during which many new business deals are expected to be signed between British and Chinese firms. Photo: Bloomberg

Xi hails Britain’s ‘visionary choice’ on China commercial ties

Chinese President Xi Jinping praised Britain for its “visionary” choice to strengthen commercial ties with China, and urged other Western powers to follow suit.

“The UK has stated that it will be the Western country that is most open to China. This is a visionary and strategic choice that fully meets Britain’s own long-term interest,” Xi told Reuters.

“China looks forward to engaging with the UK in a wider range, at a higher level and in greater depth,” Xi said in a written interview ahead of a state visit to Britain. 

Xi will arrive in London Monday evening to kick off a four-day visit that is expected to result in several new business deals between Britain and China.

The deals could include a plan for two state-owned Chinese utilities to invest in a US$25 billion nuclear power project being built by French utility EDF at Hinkley Point in England, the report said.

Xi called on Britain and other countries to avoid what he characterized as bias against Chinese companies when the latter compete for contracts overseas.

“Competition is necessary for a business to grow, and no one will give away a market to its rivals,” Xi said in comments provided in English.

“We hope that such competition is benign and market-based. There should be no swing doors or glass doors which are placed as non-economic or non-market-based barriers.”

In other comments, Xi acknowledged that China’s slowing growth was a concern.

“As an economy closely linked to international markets, China cannot stay immune to the lackluster performance of the global economy. We do have concerns about the Chinese economy, and we are working hard to address them,” he said.

Still, Xi added that the slowdown is normal as China is seeking structural adjustments in the economy.

Beijing’s monetary easing steps and adjustment of the renminbi exchange rate mechanism have helped to defuse risks, he said.

“Going forward, we will deepen market-oriented financial reforms… to cultivate an open and transparent capital market that enjoys long-term, stable and sound development,” Xi said.

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RC

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