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Remarks by Ambassador Liu Xiaoming at the Opening of the Agricultural Bank of China (UK) Limited
Drapers' Hall, 9 February 2012
2012/02/11

Lord Green,

President Zhang Yun,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I want to offer my warm congratulations on the opening of the Agricultural Bank of China (UK) Limited.

This is yet another happy event following our recent celebration of the Chinese New Year of the Dragon.

In fact, I announced this good news to the British financial and business community earlier this week during a speech at City Week.

I also pay a warm tribute to the Agricultural Bank of China for their wise decision to come to Britain.

Let me explain why:

First, the arrival of Agricultural Bank of China in London provides a powerful symbol of the go-global initiative of Chinese companies in recent years.

Over 30 years of reform and opening-up created a golden era for China's development. This also saw our financial industry grow and emerge onto the world stage.

This progress towards globalisation was a result of China's growing trade with the world. In addition, an increasing number of Chinese companies are seeking an international presence and making more and more investments worldwide. Also, each year sees an increasing number of Chinese citizens traveling, working and living outside China.

China's financial industry has responded with vigour to these trends. They are providing ever higher quality and wider range of services and are well on the way towards global expansion.

The Agricultural Bank of China has a proud history. It was the first state-owned commercial bank of the People's Republic after 1949.

In recent years the Bank has gone through an ambitious reform. It has now become a share-holding group with a strengthened corporate governance structure.

The opening of the UK subsidiary today is an important milestone. It marks a new beginning for the Agricultural Bank of China to provide global services to its clients.

Second, coming to London secures a solid foothold for the Bank in the world's largest financial centre.

The City of London is the number one forex, gold and insurance market of the world.

The 'Square Mile' under our feet is where 20 percent of international banking transactions and one third of forex trading are done.

Meanwhile, 75 percent of the global top 500 companies have branches or offices here.

These facts mean that opening its first overseas subsidiary in the City is a huge step for the Agricultural Bank of China.

Third, this launch coincides with growing warmth in China -UK relations.

2012 marks the 40th anniversary of China-UK full diplomatic relations.

The 40-year period saw China-UK relations grow and mature. It is also a time when our economic ties have reached one new landmark after another.

Both China and Britain look to finance as an important area of cooperation and hope to use the industry as a catalyst for wider cooperation.

The opening of this UK subsidiary provides another important milestone. It means that all China's Big Five State Owned commercial banks have an established presence in London.

The establishment of China's 'Big Five' in London creates another important dimension in China-Britain relations. These links will provide a major launch-pad for China's banking sector to reach across the world. It provides a key support for the 'Big Five' to build up their global networks and competitiveness.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today's launch provides an interesting coincidence.

As you know we are now in the Year of the Dragon. And the logo of the Agricultural Bank of China is well connected with the Dragon   . The logo looks like the Chinese character '田', which is pronounced: TIAN. In turn this character '田'means farmland.

The ancient Chinese classic, The Book of Changes tells us that 'dragon' and 'farmland' coming together means an auspicious and promising start!

It is my sincere hope that the Agricultural Bank of China (UK) Limited will seize this excellent opportunity. I wish them well in their ambition to use this foundation to reach out into the world.

I am also confident that Agricultural Bank of China (UK) Limited, will follow the strengths of its parent in China. These are long-standing values of credibility, prudential management and sustainable development.

I wish Agricultural Bank of China (UK) Limited every success in becoming a vibrant player in Britain's financial market.

I look forward to Agricultural Bank of China (UK) Limited making a major contribution to advancing the partnership between China and Britain.

Thank you!

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