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Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Liu Xiaoming at the Opening Ceremony of China CITIC Bank London Branch: Ride the Wind of the "Golden Era" and Write a New Chapter of China-UK Financial Cooperation
Drapers' Hall, London, 21 June 2019

Madam Li Qingping,

Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles,

Mr. Stephen Perry,

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Good evening!

It is a real delight to join you at today's event. Let me begin by extending my warmest congratulations on the opening of China CITIC Bank London Branch!

Two days earlier, Vice Premier Hu Chunhua was here in the UK, where he co-chaired the tenth China-UK Economic and Financial Dialogue, launched the Shanghai-London Stock Connect, and witnessed 69 outcomes.

The opening of China CITIC Bank London Branch is yet another good news of ever-closer China-UK financial cooperation. China CITIC Bank is one of the first commercial banks established after China began the great journey of reform and opening up. It is also the first commercial bank to engage in cross-border financing. Riding the wave of reform and opening up, China CITIC Bank has grown from strength to strength, setting many "records" in modern China's financial history.

Here in London, China CITIC Bank has set one more "record". I have learned that after officially launching the application process, China CITIC Bank has taken only one and a half years to obtain the license to establish a branch in London. This is the shortest time ever taken by a Chinese bank to upgrade its status in London from a representative office to a branch.

In my opinion, the opening of China CITIC Bank's first overseas branch bears three-fold significance.

First, it is a new milestone in the efforts of Chinese banks to explore the global market.

In my nine years as Chinese Ambassador to the UK, I have witnessed the progress of Chinese banks in the UK, which reflects China's steady integration in the international financial market. China CITIC Bank, as the eighth Chinese bank to have set up a branch in London, is a vivid example of this progress.

Since establishing a representative office in London in 2015, China CITIC Bank has been actively exploring the British market. It has leveraged the strengths of CITIC Group in investment banking and infrastructure building to build overseas platforms for cooperation and advanced its cross-border business.

The opening of the London Branch will enable China CITIC Bank to improve its network so as to provide better services in the overseas market. It also injects new energy to China's banking sector as Chinese banks continue to explore the global market.

Second, the opening of China CITIC Bank London Branch is a "vote of confidence" for the bright future of China-UK financial cooperation.

This year marks the 65th anniversary of the establishment of China-UK diplomatic relationship at the level of chargé d'affaires. The China-UK "Golden Era" is making steady progress as the financial sectors of our two countries forge a partnership of mutual benefit through win-win cooperation.

There is no better example than the City of London, a world-leading financial, commercial and economic centre, and the largest offshore RMB market outside China.

As market and investment uncertainties rise due to Brexit, China CITIC Bank has cast an invaluable "vote of confidence" for the future development of the UK through concrete actions.

Looking forward, I am confident in the future of our financial cooperation. Our two countries should seize the opportunities of the outcomes of the tenth Economic and Financial Dialogue to expand our vision and explore new ways to bring our financial cooperation to a new level.

Third, the opening of China CITIC Bank London Branch strengthens China's determination to deepen reform on all fronts and open its door wider to the world.

In the past more than 40 years since the beginning of reform and opening up, China has achieved remarkable success in its development. In particular, it has carried out historic reforms in its financial sector and established a modern, internationally competitive market system.

The Belt and Road Initiative is China's major step in a new round of opening up. It has created new opportunities for Chinese companies to expand their overseas market.

In recent years, China CITIC Bank, through improving its overseas layout, has been actively engaged in BRI development, especially in the building of the "Financial Silk Road".

The opening of China CITIC Bank London Branch proves that, despite the challenges of protectionism and unilateralism, China will not close its door; Instead, China will open its door even wider to the world.

Going forward, as China opens its capital market wider both-ways, its business environment will continue to improve to become more market-oriented, law-based and business-facilitating. British financial institutions and companies are welcome to invest or set up businesses in China. This will definitely be a win-win for both sides.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

As a Chinese adage goes,

"A journey of one thousand miles can never be made without the accumulation of every single step;

An ocean can never be vast without the contribution of every single stream and brook."

A Western saying echoes this spirit of persistence. It goes,

"Pursue your object, be it what it will, steadily and indefatigably."

Over the years, CITIC Group has been an important pilot business for economic reform and a window of opening up in China. I sincere hope that China CITIC Bank will carry on this fine tradition and have the audacity to make new exploration and innovation.

I am sure you will build a bridge between Chinese and British companies, write a new chapter of China-UK financial cooperation, and make new contribution to the China-UK "Golden Era"!

In conclusion, I wish China CITIC Bank London Branch every success!

Thank you!

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