Date Published: 24-06-2014

This week’s visit to the UK by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has marked a watershed moment in ties between the two countries. In particular, we’ve seen important steps taken to ensure that closer links with China will provide significant opportunities for both economies. For the UK’s financial and related professional services industry in particular, this will mean new projects that deliver jobs, generate economic growth and boost our competitiveness in the international arena.

Central to this week’s commitments was an agreement announced with the China Development Bank Corporation (CDB) to support its expansion in the UK, signed in the presence of David Cameron and Premier Li. The “trillion-dollar bank” is owned by the government of the People’s Republic of China and is primarily responsible for funding large-scale infrastructure, social development and international cooperation projects. The agreement, led by TheCityUK’s chairman Sir Gerry Grimstone, supports CDB’s plans to expand its financing and lending activity in the UK, particularly in infrastructure-related investment and areas such as renminbi (RMB) trading.

This is a huge vote of confidence in the UK from a rising economic superpower. The president of CDB, Zheng Zhijie, emphasised the importance of CDB expanding its operations in the UK, given London’s position as one of the world’s leading financial centres. This further enhances the credibility and importance of the UK as the focal point for facilitation of world trade. It also serves to underline the future importance of the UK’s position within the EU; the CDB says it sees London as the “gateway to Europe”.