China-Britain economic ties see great breakthrough in 2013

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Xinhua, London :
China and Britain made great breakthrough in bilateral trade and investment relations in 2013, with trade volume hitting a record, a Chinese diplomat said here Monday.
The year of 2013 was marked by an enhanced China-Britain economic cooperation, with bilateral trade volume reaching 70 billion U.S. dollars, up 11 percent year on year, said Zhou Xiaoming, minister counsellor of the Economic and Commercial Office of the Chinese Embassy in Britain.
China’s export to Britain rose by 10 percent, reaching 51 billion dollars, he said.
China became Britain’s largest supplier of electro-mechanical products, while British automobile sales in China reached a new high of over 110,000 units, Zhou said.
Bilateral financial ties was also strengthened in 2013, as London bolstered its position as Europe’s central offshore trading hub for China’s currency renminbi (RMB).
The trade volume of RMB roared by 50 percent in London, making it the second largest offshore market only next to Hong Kong.
Among China’s investment in Britain, real estate has been an obvious hotspot in recent years, said Zhou.
The Lloyd’s building was bought by the Chinese insurance company Ping An. Another Chinese company, Dalian Wanda Group, made a deal to build a five-star hotel by the River Thames.
During British Prime Minister David Cameron’s visit to China in December last year, the two sides agreed to enhance cooperation in areas including high-speed railway, nuclear power and finance.
Zhou said that this year would be another year of breakthrough-making and harvest for China-Britain economic cooperation.
China’s deepening of reform will not only boost its own growth but also offer greater opportunities for China-Britain economic cooperation, he said.
As Britain has the capacity of innovation fostered by its advanced manufacturing and R&D (research and development) ability, China can learn from it technology and experience in various areas, he added.
“Britain has its strong points and advantages. China has its demands on industry upgrading and developing modern service industry. There could be a great room for bilateral cooperation,” Zhou added.