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Ambassador Liu Xiaoming Gave Interview to CGTN on the Acquisition of British Steel by Hebei Jingye Group

On 9 March, Ambassador Liu Xiaoming gave an interview to CGTN after witnessing the acquisition of British Steel by Hebei Jingye Group and took questions regarding the significance of the acquisition and China-UK relationship.

CGTN: This is an interesting period, isn’t it? And this is a particularly interesting deal for UK-China relations, is it not?

Ambassador Liu: Yes, I think there are about four significances. Number One, I call it “Golden Fruit” for the “Golden Era”. We are marking the fifth anniversary of China-UK “Golden Era” launched by President Xi Jinping’s state visit to the UK in 2015. President Xi just had a telephone conversation with Prime Minister Johnson. This was their first telephone conversation since the Prime Minister took office. They discussed about collaboration across the board, including collaboration in business, finance, investment, and infrastructure. And this British Steel acquisition is really a shining example of collaboration between China and the UK.

Second, this “Golden Fruit” is delivered at a very critical moment when Chinese and British people are fighting this Covid-19. So this really shows our confidence in our partnership in fighting the common enemy, we called it “battle against virus”. It also shows that we both share confidence in China’s economy. Now, at home, we resume production, we encourage the businesses continue their trade and investment. You know, the UK now is the No 1 destination of Chinese investment in Europe. So this acquisition really shows the commitment on part of China to the UK market. It is really a vote of confidence not only in the UK but also in China-UK collaboration after Brexit.

Third, I would say, you know, we’re now in Scunthorpe. This is Mid England. I know Prime Minister is very much focused on this regional development. It is also our ideas that we’d like to dovetail the regional development of China and the UK. And I think this is a very significant fruit, the outcomes of collaboration between China and the UK.

The last one, I would say, this also offers a lot of opportunities. This project did a good job not only by saving 3,200 jobs for local community; it also will transform and upgrade British Steel. So they will make their contribution to a high quality development of British steel industry. And also to Jingye, it’s a local company in China, but this acquisition made it global, an international company. So it’s win-win. I just have a discussion with the General Manager of Jingye on how they are going to be committed to this project. They are here not for buying and selling. They are here for a long-term commitment. They have a ten year plan for British Steel. They are going to invest 1.2 billion British pounds, so I am very encouraged. You know, I also encouraged them to live up to their commitment, to learn from their British colleagues, to make this “golden fruit” shining, and to make greater contribution to China-UK “Golden Era”.

CGTN: Do you have a message for the people of Scunthorpe, for the people of Teesside who are now welcoming you into their business community?

Ambassador Liu: I would like to wish British Steel a promising and bright future. I just met Ms. Mumby-Croft MP representing the local community. She told me that her father worked in British Steel and her grandfather also worked in British Steel. So British Steel really connects a lot of people; it really touches the very soft part of the local people. I think I told Jingye people it is also very important to live up to your social responsibility. You know, it’s not only about business. It’s not only about profit. It’s about culture. To learn from each other is very important. They totally agree with me. And I do hope that Jingye will be connected with the local community. Before I came to Scunthorpe, I do not know this place. Now I am here and I think more Chinese people will know there is such a city of a glorious history, of British industrial revolution of 300 years. And I think Scunthorpe will be a household name in China or certainly in Hebei where Jingye has its headquarters, and I think the people in Scunthorpe will know more about China, so our two peoples of two countries will be better connected through this project. So, I do hope that Jingye will be more down to earth, well-connected with the local community. Thank you!

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