Chairman Sun Yu,
Friends from the Business Community,
Ladies and Gentlemen:
It is a real delight to be a part of such a distinguished gathering of friends, both old and new, from the China Chamber of Commerce in the UK to mark the beginning of a new year.
This is a good opportunity to celebrate the "golden fruits" of the past year, and look forward to the "golden opportunities" in the new year.
This afternoon, I spoke at the China-UK Economic and Trade Forum. Business communities from both countries had in-depth discussions on important agenda such as the Belt and Road Initiative and Brexit.
I found it particularly encouraging that the forum generated many brilliant ideas on advancing the China-UK "Golden Era".
I can sense a growing faith in the mutually-benefit between China and the UK.
I can see a broader path for China-UK win-win cooperation.
And I felt deeply inspired by the promising future of China-UK relations.
The year 2017 marks the 45th anniversary of the ambassadorial diplomatic ties between China and the UK. It is also a year for consolidating the China-UK "Golden Era". Amid the uncertainties of Brexit negotiations and the snap election, China-UK relations maintained a sound and steady momentum.
Here are two definite highlights of 2017:
The fifth China-UK High-Level People to People Dialogue and the ninth China-UK Economic and Financial Dialogue.
A total of 72 outcomes were reached in the respective fields – I call this a fruitful conclusion of a successful 2017.
But the list of our achievements in 2017 is by no means restricted to the two Dialogues.
Chinese companies expanded their business and made investment across the UK.
There was continued progress in the traditional areas such as energy, finance and health.
In emerging fields -- big data, clean energy, artificial intelligence and smart city -- China-UK cooperation was thriving.
All these could not have been possible without the hard efforts and vigorous contributions of each and every one of you. Please allow me to express my heartfelt thanks to all of you present tonight.
The year 2017 is also a fruitful year for China Chamber of Commerce in the UK.
Under the Chairmanship of Mr. Sun Yu and other leading members, CCCUK has flourished. This big family has strong cohesion, wide influence and high efficiency.
Over the past year, CCCUK improved its organizational structure, upgraded its management, and hosted a rich variety of events.
According to what I heard, you now have close to 200 members, covers dozens of sectors in which Chinese companies operate here in the UK, and you are still expanding.
I also learnt about your four professional committees. They are the Financial Committee, the Trade Committee, the Technology Committee and the Supervisory and Management Committee. With these committees, CCCUK could provide more professional and multi-dimensional services for member companies.
You deserve a round of applause for such impressive progress.
When I addressed the CCCUK council meeting last year, I compared Chinese companies in the UK to "stabilizers, propellers and loudspeakers" for China-UK "Golden Era".
In 2018, CCCUK will continue to have an important role to play.
2018 is the opening year for the implementation of the blueprint outlined at the 19th Party Congress.
2018 marks the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up policy.
2018 will see us taking China-UK "Golden Era" another step further.
This new era has entrusted CCCUK with new missions. I wish you well and I want to share with you my three hopes.
First, I hope Chinese companies could be the facilitator in building a new-type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind.
This is the centerpiece of China's diplomacy in the new era. I look forward to more vigorous efforts from Chinese companies in the UK in this respect.
Amid Brexit negotiations, it is important that Chinese companies in the UK enhance communication with local communities. Pursuing business interests and addressing local concerns can go hand in hand and be mutually reinforcing.
Moreover, your work will help the British public see the tangible results of China-UK cooperation. Your efforts will make the new-type of international relations and the community with a shared future for mankind feel close, real and meaningful.
Second, I hope Chinese companies could be the pioneer in Belt and Road cooperation.
Against the challenges of Brexit, there are also opportunities for China-UK relations. If we seize the opportunities, our cooperation is bound to have a promising prospect.
The Belt and Road Initiative is a great opportunity. It is an important public good that China offers to the world. It is a public good for global development and recovery. The UK is a natural partner for the Belt and Road Initiative.
Last month China and the UK announced the establishment of a bilateral investment fund with an initial capital injection of $1 billion.
British financial institutions pledged £25 billion in support of Belt and Road project financing in Asia.
Chinese companies in the UK should grab these opportunities. You should work closer with your British partners to pool the respective strengths of both sides. Together, there is a great deal you can achieve in Belt and Road development.
Third, I hope Chinese companies could be a good story-teller of China's reform and opening-up.
The year 2018 marks the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up policy. This policy has brought about tremendous changes to China over the past 40 years.
Today, China remains committed to building an open economy. China will only open its market wider. In recent years, China has greatly increased market access, especially in the service sector.
The UK is also open to trade and investment. It has unique strength in the service sector.
Chinese companies in the UK are best positioned to feel the pulse and take advantage of the opening on both sides.
Here in the UK, I hope you could tell the story to your British friends and partners. You could help the British public get the whole picture of what is going on in China with regard to reform and opening-up. Your could show them why and how China's reform and opening creates opportunities for China-UK relations.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
2017 has presented its grandeur. 2018 opens up new prospects for greater progress.
In the new year, I look forward to a new look and new achievements of CCCUK. I hope to see more facilitators, pioneers and story-tellers among the Chinese entrepreneurs.
The Chinese Embassy will continue to provide support and services to Chinese companies in the UK. We look forward to working with you all.
Together, we will make China-UK "Golden Era" not only shine brighter but deliver more golden fruits.
The Chinese New Year is around the corner. Let me wish you and your family a healthy, happy and prosperous Year of the Dog!