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Keynote Speech by H.E. Ambassador Liu Xiaoming at the AFCA International Forum for Green Finance (London) & AFCA Green Finance Practice Report 2019 Launching Event: Pursue Green Development and Write a New Chapter of Financial Cooperation
Guildhall, City of London, 3 September 2019

Ms. Catherine McGuinness,

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Good morning!

It is a real delight to join you at the AFCA International Forum for Green Finance (London) and AFCA Green Finance Practice Report 2019 Launching Event.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China and the 65th anniversary of the establishment of China-UK diplomatic relationship at the level of chargé d’affaires.

In the past 70 years, China experienced rapid growth. It is now leading the world in economic power and comprehensive national strength. China has accomplished in 70 years what had taken Western industrialised countries hundreds of years to achieve.

In the past 65 years, China-UK relationship has made leaps and bounds despite wind and rain. Now China and the UK have established a global comprehensive strategic partnership for the 21st century. In this process, China’s rapid development has created enormous opportunities for China-UK cooperation especially in the financial sector.

In my more than nine years as Chinese Ambassador, I have visited the City of London many times. Yet I find it both familiar and fresh.

I find it familiar because the fruitful and promising financial cooperation between China and the UK has resulted in my frequent visits and emotional attachment to the City of London. I have attended many openings of Chinese bank branches, launches of China-UK joint projects and celebrations of cooperation outcomes. Last year, I had the honour of becoming a Freeman of the City. Just one hour ago, I was at London Stock Exchange for the Market Open in honour of the 15th World Chinese Entrepreneurs Convention coming to London.

I also find it fresh when I visit the City each time. There are always new things to learn, new faces to meet and new frontiers to explore. I think this is attributable to the City’s thriving international financial sector. In curbing anti-globalisation and tackling global challenges in environmental governance, green finance is one of the new frontiers.

Therefore, it is timely that representatives from the financial sectors of our two countries have come together today to discuss how we could work together for new progress in green finance. In my view, green finance has the following three-fold significance for China and the UK.

First, it is a “new driving force” for deeper financial cooperation.

Both China and the UK champion green development.

  • As early as 2015, the Agricultural Bank of China listed green bond equivalent to $1 billion at the London Stock Exchange.
  • In 2016, Geely issued $400 million of green bond to support the development of the classic London black cabs with zero emission.
  • In 2018, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) issued dual-currency green bond segment in London equivalent to $1.58 billion.
  • Last June, ICBC signed the Mandate Letter on Green Loan with HSBC and BNP Paribas.

At the tenth China-UK Economic and Financial Dialogue concluded last June, our two countries reached a number of important agreements on green finance. According to these agreements, China and the UK restate their recognition of each other as their primary partner in green finance. We have also pledged to work on harmonisation of green standards and develop innovative product.

Looking ahead, green finance, as an important new “growth point” for China-UK business cooperation, will achieve its huge potential and embrace a promising future.

Second, green finance creates “new opportunities” for China-UK cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative.

The BRI is a green initiative.

Last November, the China-UK Green Finance Taskforce issued the Green Investment Principles for Belt and Road Development. Low-carbon and sustainable development became a BRI objective. There will be increased emphasis on the capability to manage environmental and social implications so as to make BRI investment greener.

The second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation held last April marked the beginning of high-quality BRI. One important outcome of the Forum is the establishment of the BRI International Green Development Coalition. This is another indication that BRI is becoming greener.

London is a top international financial centre. Britain is a natural partner for China in building a green BRI. China and the UK could leverage our expertise and leadership in green finance. We could match our strengths and develop more green products so as to build a high-quality and greener BRI.

Third, green finance offers a “new solution” to global financial governance.

China-UK cooperation on green finance is more than bilateral. It has global significance.

In 2016, China and the UK took the initiative to set up the G20 Green Finance Study Group. This led to the G20 Green Finance Synthesis Report, which was submitted to the G20 Summit in Hangzhou.

China and the UK should focus on further research, standardization, and product and services innovation on green finance. This will enable us to make concerted efforts to improve global financial governance framework and facilitate healthier and more sustainable financial cooperation in the world.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

At the Annual Conference 2015 of the Boao Forum for Asia, President Xi Jinping proposed to establish a platform for exchanges and cooperation between the financial institutions in Asia. In response to this proposal, the Asian Financial Cooperation Association (AFCA) was set up.

AFCA follows the principles of “Connectivity, Cooperation, Joint Governance and Shared Benefits”. Since its establishment, AFCA has served as

  • a platform for financial cooperation,
  • a centre for in-depth research on financial theories,
  • a hub for integrating regional financial resources, and
  • an active participant in global financial governance.

These efforts have been highly recognised and greatly endorsed by the financial sector in Asia and beyond. The City of London is the Executive Deputy Director of AFCA’s green finance committee. This is providing yet another effective platform for China-UK cooperation on green finance.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

A Chinese adage goes,

“With strong roots, plants will grow;

With good deeds, people will succeed.”

The world is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century. Peace, development and win-win cooperation are the irreversible trend of our times.

Now is a critical moment for China-UK relationship. Both our countries are standing at a new historical starting point. We should build on our past achievements and move on to embrace the future. Against the backdrop of surging protectionism and unilateralism, China-UK financial cooperation will not only benefit our two countries but also carry global significance.

I sincerely hope that the financial community of our two countries will seize the opportunities to expand cooperation. We should join hands to deepen and substantiate China-UK cooperation on green finance and promote the steady and sustained global cooperation on green finance!

In conclusion, I wish today’s Forum and the AFCA Green Finance Practice Report 2019 Launching Event great success!

Thank you!

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