BEIJING (Reuters) – China and Britain have pledged to continue and strengthen cooperation on a wide range of economic, financial and trade issues, including accelerating the introduction of a London-Shanghai stock-linking program.
In a joint statement on Saturday, coinciding with an official visit to China by British Finance Minister Philip Hammond, the countries also said that they opposed trade protectionism and reaffirmed their support for the World Trade Organization as a key pillar of the world trading system.
The statement comes when China, in an unusual step, accused the United States and the European Union of breaching the promises they made when China joined the WTO.
Speaking at a press conference in Beijing with Chinese Vice Premier Ma Kai, Hammond said the two countries were also discussing an expected London-Shanghai stock-linking program, as well as a possible scheme to connect their markets to bonuses
"We agreed to accelerate the final preparations for the London-Shanghai Stock Connect initiative and agreed to begin feasibility studies for a bond connection between the United Kingdom and China and for mutual recognition of funds between the two jurisdictions," he said. .
Hammond, who also visited a separate forum on Saturday where the London and Shenzhen stock exchanges signed a pact to support innovative companies, said he hopes to see more small Chinese companies "make the most of startups' experience, networks and capital of our country. " increase capabilities. "
Fang Xinghai, vice president of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, told the forum that China is looking to increase cooperation with Britain.
" China's savings are broad and we should create the conditions to convert more savings in capital of innovative companies, instead of letting most of the savings remain in the real estate market, "said Fang." If we can achieve this, China's economy will move to a new level. "
Talks on the scheme of Connection of shares between Shanghai and London, which would allow investing in one stock market to invest in the other, started two years ago, but progress has been slow due in part to Gr's unexpected decision. Brittany to leave the European Union.
The closer ties between China and the capital markets of the United Kingdom would be well received by London, whose future as a global financial center is clouded by Brexit. It would also be a blessing for the London Stock Exchange Group, which is grappling with turmoil, including the recent abrupt departure of its CEO, Xavier Rolet.
For China, connecting the London and Shanghai exchanges would mark another milestone in its deregulation of capital markets. Beijing's commitment to financial reform has gained worldwide recognition, and the publisher of US indices. UU., MSCI, agreed to include China A shares in its global indexes next year.
The London-Shanghai securities connection is based on a similar scheme linking Hong Kong and Shanghai, but faces more technical and regulatory challenges, as Chinese and British investors trade in different time zones.
GROUP OF EXPERTS
Other areas of cooperation highlighted in Saturday's joint statement include encouraging banks in each country to increase their presence and activity in the other country, the China-UK promotion. the business of the cross-border yuan, an agreement to cooperate in vehicles with ultra-low emissions and support for the yuan as the settlement currency.
China and the United Kingdom will establish a new joint group of experts to exchange views on macroeconomic and fiscal policy, according to the joint statement.
Former British Prime Minister David Cameron will also participate in a proposed billion-dollar bilateral investment fund, the statement said.
Report by Ben Blanchard and Kevin Yao in Beijing and Samuel Shen in Shanghai, written by Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Shri Navaratnam