UK to showcase innovation at first China import expo

Illuminated Big Ben at dusk in London, UK. [Photo/VCG]

British companies are gearing up to showcase their strengths at China’s first-ever international import expo in Shanghai next month, in an effort to hedge against uncertainties as the United Kingdom leaves the European Union.

Flagship British brands well established in China, such as Jaguar Land Rover, British Airways and HSBC, will take the lead alongside small and medium-sized enterprises looking to test the waters in China for the first time.

The China International Import Expo, also known as the CIIE, runs from Nov 5 to Nov 10. The UK is one of 12 countries of honor at the expo.
“The CIIE demonstrates China’s desire to further open up its markets, increase trade, and encourage Chinese consumers and businesses to buy more products and services from across the globe. The UK is the ideal partner in these objectives,” said Richard Burn, the UK’s trade commissioner to China.

“There really has never been a better time for the UK and China to work together and trade more,” Burn said, on Monday, just as the British government unveiled its plans for the UK Pavilion.

With a big focus on innovation, the UK Pavilion will feature many futuristic technologies. The London-based Hypervsn will showcase an augmented reality mirror that lets users meet, interact and even take their photo with famous animated characters.
John Edwards, British consul-general in Shanghai, said innovation is a “distinct feature” for Britain, therefore allowing visitors to experience and enjoy these innovative technologies is an important consideration behind the design of the UK Pavilion.

In addition to technology, other sectors with strong British representation include healthcare and life sciences, financial and professional services, education, creative industries, consumer goods, food and agriculture products, aviation and aerospace, automotive, AI and big data.
UK-China trade reached a record 67.5 billion pounds ($89 billion) in 2017, a 15 percent increase from 2016. More significantly, UK exports to China grew by 28.5 percent in 2017 to reach 22.3 billion pounds, according to British government statistics.

This encouraging growth is partly supported by the British government’s efforts to encourage British companies to grow their China links to hedge against Brexit-related uncertainties.

The fact that Burn was the first of nine Trade Commissioners appointed for the UK’s overseas markets shows the significance of China from the British government perspective. Meanwhile, the government agency UK Export Finance has committed 25 billion pounds of funding to support British exports to economies along the Belt and Road trade routes.


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