The City of London sees opportunities for further cooperation between the UK and China in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a top British policymaker told Xinhua in a recent interview.
"Five years on from its initial announcement, China's Belt and Road Initiative remains an incredible vision, and a clear area for greater collaboration between the UK and China," Catherine McGuinness, chair of the Policy and Resources Committee of the City of London Corporation, said via email.
She recalled the first Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation held in Beijing in 2017. That event "truly gained the world's attention," and since then several UK companies have paid BRI-focused visits to China to learn first-hand about the opportunities for further cooperation.
Late last year, the City of London Corporation's Green Finance Initiative, in partnership with China's Green Finance Committee, published a set of BRI green finance guidelines.
"The BRI is an ambitious plan, which London, and more broadly the UK financial and professional services sector, can support by being a key hub for international infrastructure investment," said McGuinness.
She said that with its unrivaled talent pool in financial and professional services, the City of London could also play a role in areas such as green finance, consultancy, rule of law and foreign exchange.
"Partnerships between UK and Chinese companies will be key in supporting infrastructure development across the region, particularly in terms of projects and initiatives in third countries, where UK and Chinese strengths are complementary," said McGuinness.
The City of London Corporation engages and works closely with the government, policymakers, regulators and businesses. Its work includes exploring opportunities for UK businesses around the world. McGuinness described the BRI as "the project of the century," which London could support by being a key hub for the financing and professional services required.
"The UK is a leading international financial centre, and a country with hundreds of years of experience in infrastructure financing and countless success stories to share," she said. "As a result, we have so much to offer the BRI, and I look forward to working with partners in China, and across the world, to ensure we play a role in this 'project of the century'."
McGuinness told Xinhua that the City of London Corporation encourages UK companies to discuss BRI-related issues at home and abroad. The corporation also discusses BRI-related opportunities and mutually beneficial potential cooperation ventures with the Chinese government and with industry leaders.
She said she looked forward to this year's forum in Beijing and to hearing more about the UK companies' involvement and successes in the BRI.
"I am confident our position as a centre for financial excellence will continue" after Britain leaves the European Union in March, she said. "But this will only be possible by continuing to work closely with international partners like China in the field of financial and professional services."
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