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Pandemic Slows China’s Global Deal Making in 2020

The global coronavirus pandemic has so far not triggered a Chinese buying spree of distressed assets but further slowed the pace of outbound acquisitions by Chinese companies in 2020.

According to Baker McKenzie’s 7th annual analysis of Chinese outbound investment trends, conducted in partnership with Rhodium Group, completed Chinese outbound M&A totalled just $29 billion in 2020, down almost half from $53 billion in 2019 and a record high of $139 billion in 2017. This is the lowest figure since 2008. Worldwide, only completed Chinese acquisitions in Latin America in 2020 kept pace with the previous year.

Adding greenfield investment to completed M&A, North America and Europe attracted a combined total of $15.2 billion of Chinese FDI. Completed investment in North America outpaced completed investment in Europe for the first time in five years, fuelled by the completion of several billion-dollar transactions. Investment in Europe was more fragmented and consisted of smaller transactions spread across geographies and industries.

All other regions of the world also saw declines in Chinese M&A activity in 2020 compared to 2019, except for Latin America where completion of a number of energy and utilities acquisitions announced in 2019 in Brazil, Chile, and Peru kept year-over-year activity flat compared to the previous year. Acquisitions in Asia fell by a third to $7.1 billion.

After the hurricane

China’s reintroduction of outbound investment controls, increasing regulatory scrutiny in many parts of the world over Chinese investment, geopolitical tensions, and the COVID-19 pandemic have all created headwinds for investment in recent years. But improving political and macroeconomic conditions seem likely to change this downward trend for Chinese investors in this year. The M&A pipeline remains low in early 2021 but China’s favourable macroeconomic conditions, a more predictable regulatory setup abroad and a less contentious geopolitical environment could help increase deal appetite and support a rebound in Chinese deal making globally, as well as continued growth in investment into China.

The drop in completed Chinese outbound M&A in 2020 stands in contrast to M&A flows in the other direction. Foreign M&A into China rebounded strongly in 2H 2020 and reached full-year levels similar to 2019. China’s relatively early and rapid recovery from the impacts of COVID-19 have made it an attractive target for foreign investors looking for near- and intermediate-term economic growth.

“We think 2020 is likely the low point for Chinese outbound investment if political and macroeconomic headwinds moderate,” said Michael DeFranco, global head of M&A at Baker McKenzie. “The commercial incentives for Chinese companies to invest in European and North America markets remain strong, and several variables – including higher sustained levels of investment by Western companies into China – are moving in a direction that is supportive of greater deal making in both directions in 2021.”

North America: investment edges up

In 2020, Chinese investors completed $7.7 billion worth of deals in the United States and Canada, up from $5.5 billion completed in 2019. This came even as regulatory scrutiny and tensions with China were elevated in both countries. California, Ontario, Delaware, North Carolina, and Massachusetts were the North American regions seeing the most Chinese investment.

Entertainment, health and biotech, and natural resources were the top sectors in North America. Billion dollar deals like Tencent’s stake in Universal Music and Zijin’s stake in Canada’s Continental Resources drove high industry concentration in North America in 2020.

Canada accounted for a larger share of total Chinese FDI in North America than in previous years (17%), reflecting momentum in mining deals and persistently low US investment.

Chinese companies continued to make major asset divestitures in North America in 2020. For example, Platinum Equity agreed to acquire Ingram Micro from HNA for $7.2 billion in December 2020. And in September, PetroChina dissolved its Alberta shale gas joint venture project with Ovintiv after outing up $2.2 billion for a 49.9% stake in the project in 2012.

The United States attracted more greenfield investment from China in 2020 than Canada. However, total Chinese greenfield investment in the United States was still modest at around $700 million. The biggest greenfield deals in the US included expansions of existing US footprints for companies like Haier-owned GE Appliances, Fuyao Glass, and Geely-owned Terrafugia.

Chinese companies nearly halve investment in Europe

Completed Chinese FDI in Europe continued its downward trajectory in 2020 to $7.5 billion from $13.4 billion in 2019, registering a lower total than in North America for the first time since 2016. Compared to North America, Chinese M&A transactions in Europe targeted medium-sized targets across a broader spectrum of industries. Chinese greenfield activity in Europe in 2020 was more robust than in North America, with nearly $1 billion in completed investment during the year. There were more midsized transactions in Europe dispersed across industries such as real estate and hospitality, automotive, and energy.

As with investment in North America, outbound capital controls and increased scrutiny of Chinese investment in host countries presented headwinds, as did the coronavirus pandemic. For example, FAW Group discontinued talks to acquire Italian truck maker Iveco for €3 billion during the year, with FAW citing the pandemic as a factor in its decision.

Germany ($2.0 billion), France ($1.0 billion), Poland ($780 million), Sweden ($719 million), and the United Kingdom ($427 million) received the most investment. Investment levels in Germany reverted to the roughly $2 billion normal range typical before 2019. Chinese investment in France mounted a comeback in 2020 after falling precipitously in 2019 thanks to a few major completed acquisitions. Investment in Poland focused on a single major warehouse portfolio acquisition, while in Sweden there continues to be sustained Chinese investment above historical averages.

With the uncertainty of Brexit, persistent Chinese restrictions on outbound transactions in real estate and other service sectors, and increasing tensions with China, the United Kingdom fell to the fifth among European countries this year with only about $427 million of investment through a few smaller completed M&A deals like Jingye Group/British Steel. But a major billion-dollar Huawei greenfield R&D investment announced in June suggests Chinese firms are still interested in the UK and will bolster future totals if it comes to fruition. Levels of Chinese investment in Italy, Ireland and the Netherlands also fell to very low levels.

Compared to North America, Chinese M&A transactions in Europe targeted medium-sized companies across a broader spectrum of industries. The top deals by investment size included targets like a warehouse network in Poland and a few other Central European nations (GLP, $1.1 billion), Germany’s Steigenberger Hotels AG (Huazhu Group, $780 million), France’s Asteelflash (Universal Scientific Industrial, $422 million), National Electric Vehicle Sweden (Evergrande, $380 million), and France’s Maxeon Solar Technologies (Tianjin Zhonghuan Semiconductor, $300 million).

There were also large multi-year greenfield projects announced during the year such as SVolt Energy Technology’s announced $2.4 billion battery plant in Germany slated to open in late 2023.

EU-China Investment Deal

The proposed CAI Deal will facilitate minor additional opening of the EU market to Chinese investors. The European market was already very open to Chinese and other foreign capital. The CAI commits the EU to further open its energy sector, with the focus on retail and wholesale, but excluding trading platforms.

The CAI will not limit EU member states in deploying defensive measures including FDI screening, legislation to address subsidy distortions in the Single Market, the adoption of a more restrictive procurement regime and its push to reduce risks related to 5G.

“While regulatory and political headwinds for Chinese investors in the EU will persist and the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment is not an instant game-changer, it does send a strong signal that Chinese investment is welcome in Europe, which is likely to positively impact investor psychology,” said Thomas Gilles, chair of Baker McKenzie’s EMEA-China Group. “That, combined with potential political encouragement by Beijing, could help revive Chinese FDI in Europe and reverse the downward trend since 2017.”

Outlook brightening?

“Recent signals – most importantly the transition to a new US administration and a successful conclusion of the CAI – point toward a more constructive global environment for Chinese companies compared to the previous four years, which could help improve investor sentiment and risk appetite,” said Tracy Wut, Baker McKenzie’s head of M&A for Hong Kong and China.

Additionally, China’s current account surplus ballooned in 2020 as global travel halted Chinese overseas tourism spending while Chinese exports recovered before many other nations impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. This has put appreciating pressure on the renminbi and is creating an opportunity for China to allow more capital outflows, including outbound M&A.

Finally, Chinese investors will have more transparency on ‘red lines’ in overseas jurisdictions as new investment screening regimes are settling: “Tougher investment screening rules and related policies have substantially increased regulatory risks and uncertainty for Chinese investors, especially in data, technology, infrastructure, and related areas in recent years,” says Sylwia Lis, an international trade partner in Baker McKenzie’s Washington, DC office. “Additional uncertainties came through ad-hoc tightening of review criteria in many jurisdictions during the height of the pandemic. Looking ahead, while foreign investment review rules and practices will undoubtedly continue to evolve, some of the uncertainty around new regulatory regimes is easing as legislation has been implemented and regimes become functional.”

CFOs anticipate return to growth and lasting change in 2021

Finance leaders expect a return to growth in 2021 with optimism rising to a record high, according to Deloitte’s latest CFO survey. Despite the surge in business optimism, half of CFOs do not expect demand for their own businesses to recover to pre-pandemic levels until the last quarter of 2021 or later.

The Deloitte CFO survey for Q4 2020, which gauges sentiment amongst the UK’s largest businesses, took place between 2nd December and 14th December 2020, so before new COVID restrictions announced on 19th December and the Brexit deal on 24th December.

A total of 90 CFOs participated in the latest survey, including CFOs of 12 FTSE 100 and 44 FTSE 250 companies. The combined market value of the UK-listed companies that participated is £308 billion, approximately 13% of the UK quoted equity market.

Revenues, risk appetite and economic landscape

There has been a sharp improvement in CFO expectations for UK corporates’ revenues this quarter with 71% expecting a rise over the next 12 months, up from 29% in Q3 2020, while over half (53%) of CFOs expect operating costs to rise. For the first time since 2015, a net balance of CFOs are expecting corporate operating margins to increase in the next year.

Risk appetite remains weak with only 19% believing it is a good time to take greater risk onto the balance sheet, however this is up from just 3% in Q1 2020.

Consistent with the idea of a return to growth CFOs’ expectations for inflation have risen markedly since Q3 2020. Over half of CFOs (59%) expect consumer price inflation to be at or above 1.6% in two years’ time, up from 36% three months ago.

While still showing a net negative balance, CFOs’ expectations for hiring, capital spending and discretionary spending have increased from the record lows seen in Q1 2020, with a strong uptick in each category in the last quarter. Expectations for hiring and spending are running higher than the levels seen between 2016 and mid-2019.

COVID and beyond

More than three quarters (78%) of finance leaders expect COVID-19 restrictions on movement and activity to continue through the first half of 2021, while 57% expect these measures to be removed permanently in Q3 2021.

CFOs believe that the pandemic is set to trigger a fundamental change in the business environment. An overwhelming net balance (98%) of CFOs expect flexible and home working to increase – with a five-fold increase in home working expected by 2025.

Similarly, 98% of CFOs expect levels of corporate and individual taxation to rise, two thirds (62%) anticipate higher regulation of the corporate sector and 59% see the size and role of government in the economy increasing.

Ian Stewart, chief economist at Deloitte, commented: “Boosted by the prospect of mass vaccination and growth, business sentiment surged this quarter with CFOs taking the most positive view on profit margins for the last five years. This rebound in sentiment occurred despite a backdrop of continued Brexit negotiations and with two thirds of CFOs believing that a no-deal outcome would have a severe or significant negative effect on the economy. In the three and a half years between the EU referendum and the pandemic CFOs have ranked Brexit as the top business risk for all but two quarters. The announcement of a deal after the survey closed is likely to have offered an end-year boost to CFO sentiment. The survey shows that in the first half of December, CFOs expected restrictions on movement and activity needed to combat COVID-19 to continue for the first half of this year. The announcement of further restrictions after the survey will clearly add to such concerns.

“Business leaders believe the pandemic will permanently change the business landscape. CFOs anticipate a five-fold increase in homeworking relative to pre-pandemic levels by 2025 and believe that the state will be both larger and more active in the long term.”

The impact of Brexit

CFOs think a no-deal Brexit would have been a far greater risk to the economy and to business than the actual outcome of a trade deal. Moreover, they saw either Brexit outcome as having a greater negative impact on the economy than on their own businesses. The large companies on our panel are more confident about their own ability to deal with Brexit than the wider economy’s.

Two thirds (66%) of CFOs saw a no-deal outcome as having a severe or significant negative effect on the economy and 18% expected a similarly negative impact on their own business. Just 20% of CFOs saw a trade deal as a major negative for the economy and this dropped to 7% in relation to their own business.

A majority (61%) of CFOs expect the post-Brexit points-based immigration system to act as somewhat of a drag on long-term economic growth. Around a quarter (27%) expect little or no effect, while 6% expect the new immigration system to support growth.

A net balance of 66% of CFOs expect both goods and services trade with the EU to decrease, while 77% expect a decrease in high-skilled immigration from the EU, with only 24% expecting an increase in skilled immigration from outside the EU.

Strategy and spending

CFOs remain in defensive mode with 49% and 46% respectively rating increasing cash flow and reducing costs as strong priorities. Meanwhile expansionary strategies have risen in popularity slightly since Q3, for example, around a quarter (28%) cite introducing new products, services or expanding into new markets as a priority for the year ahead.

Richard Houston, senior partner and chief executive of Deloitte UK, said: “The pandemic has triggered fundamental and lasting changes in business, with CFOs expecting rising levels of home-working, greater diversification of supply chains and increasing investment in technology.

“CFOs are optimistic about operating in this changing world, with a return to growth expected this year. However, with pandemic restrictions expected to be in place through the first half of this year and elevated uncertainty CFOs are maintaining defensive balance sheet positioning.

“The UK-EU trade deal ends over four years of uncertainty for business and is a far better outcome than the alternative of no-deal. Nonetheless, CFOs also recognise the challenges that leaving the EU may pose in the years ahead. The UK deal has very limited provisions for services, particularly for professional and financial services. These high productivity sectors are major UK successes and make vital contributions to jobs and prosperity. UK businesses urgently need additional clarity on key issues including financial equivalence as well as more information on the specific changes to other cross-border trading services.”

Pinsent Masons named Most Innovative Law Firm in Europe

Multinational law firm Pinsent Masons has been named the Most Innovative Law Firm in Europe for the second time in five years at the FT Innovative Lawyer Awards Europe 2020.

The accolade has been awarded following a recognition of the firm’s range of professional services capabilities including the provision of tech and innovation services via its client consultancy group and the Advanced Delivery Team, its Spark Board, CleanTech capabilities, COVID-19 and Brexit support and client-focused digital content and its success in enhancing diversity and inclusion (D&I).

The firm’s CleanTech energy capabilities led by energy partners Peter Feehan, Chris Martin and Andrew Brydon were awarded ‘standout’ in the Innovative Teams category following the firm’s work advising on innovative energy projects.

Senior partner Richard Foley was ranked in the Leadership category for developing agile working at Pinsent Masons and his commitment to D&I, well-being and mental health initiatives while the firm was recognised for its contribution to advancing D&I across the legal profession.

Commercial partner, Clare Francis, was recognised as an Innovative Practitioner for her role leading the firm’s Brexit and COVID-19 response.

Senior partner at Pinsent Masons, Richard Foley, said: “This is a fantastic achievement for the firm, one which we are all incredibly proud of. This success is, of course, a huge credit to all the teams and individuals highlighted in the report but it’s a success in which we all share. This latest recognition is the culmination of years of commitment and creativity.

“We don’t have a department for innovation at Pinsent Masons and that’s quite deliberate. We have a mindset, a strategy, a purpose, a code and values that nurture innovation by encouraging all of us to be bold, champion change and find that spark.”

Alastair Morrison, head of client strategy at Pinsent Masons, said: “Our success reinforces our commitment to being a purpose-led, professional services business with law at the core incorporating a diverse range of expertise and ground-breaking client-led solutions. This approach to legal services defines how we advise clients and support our people. Being recognised by the Financial Times as the most innovative law firm in Europe, is a tremendous endorsement of our strategy.”

Reena Sengupta, founder of RSG consulting and architect and research partner of the FT Innovative Lawyer report, said: “Pinsent Masons stood out in the vanguard of being multidisciplinary, and also putting purpose at the centre of its strategy. It has long been talking the talk of innovation; now it is a firm most clearly putting that into action.”

Duane Morris bolsters international trade capabilities

Geoffrey M. Goodale has joined Duane Morris LLP as a partner in the firm’s Corporate Practice Group in the Washington, D.C., office. The addition of Goodale enhances the firm’s international trade capabilities. Prior to joining Duane Morris, Goodale was a partner at FisherBroyles, LLP.

“Geoff is a key addition to our Corporate Practice Group,” said Matthew A. Taylor, CEO and Chairman of Duane Morris. “His extensive experience in the significant and always-evolving area of international trade is a crucial advantage for our global clients.”

“Geoff’s practice brings a key component of strength to our clients as they run their businesses in an increasingly interconnected world,” said Brian P. Kerwin, chair of the firm’s Corporate Practice Group. “His experience will be invaluable to our clients as they navigate the intricacies of a global supply chain.”

“We’re excited to have Geoff join us in Washington, D.C.,” said Patrick D. McPherson, managing partner of the Duane Morris Washington, D.C., office. “He will be a great addition to our office and the firm.”

For over 17 years, Goodale has assisted U.S. and non-U.S. entities of all sizes and in many industries in achieving their international business objectives in cost-effective ways. His practice focuses on export controls, economic sanctions, import compliance, trade litigation, international intellectual property rights protection, foreign direct investment, cybersecurity, anti-corruption, and government contracting matters.

Goodale counsels companies on a wide range of issues relating to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) enforced by the U.S. Department of State’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC), and the economic sanctions laws and regulations administered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). Additionally, he conducts internal investigations and audits to assess compliance in these areas.

Goodale also advises clients on all aspects of compliance with U.S. import laws and regulations, including those relating to determining the proper classification, valuation and country of origin of merchandise. He regularly represents clients in matters involving U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), including assisting clients in preparing for and undergoing CBP audits. He also assists clients in developing duty-savings strategies through the effective use of duty drawback, foreign trade zones and subzones, preferential duty programs, and free trade agreements, including the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Dominican Republic Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR).

Goodale’s experience also includes representing both U.S. and non-U.S. companies in all manner of anti-dumping duty and countervailing duty cases before the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) and the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), including investigations, administrative reviews, scope ruling requests and anti-circumvention proceedings, as well as in appeals of certain DOC and ITC decisions to the U.S. Court of International Trade and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. He also has represented complainants and respondents in trade-related intellectual property rights cases filed with the ITC under Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, and appeals of certain such decisions to the CAFC.

Additionally, Goodale possesses extensive experience in advising clients on international mergers and acquisitions. With respect to acquisitions by foreign entities of U.S. companies, this experience includes, among other things: taking actions necessary to clear proposed deals through the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS); filing required submissions with DDTC and/or BIS when export-controlled products and technologies are involved; and structuring transactions so as to mitigate foreign ownership, control or influence (FOCI) in a way that is acceptable to the Defense Security Service (DSS) in order for the U.S. company to maintain its Facility Security Clearance (FCL).

Goodale also provides compliance counseling to government contractors on a wide range of matters covered by the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS). In addition, he provides counseling to clients relating to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and conducts internal investigations to ensure that clients comply with the requirements of the FCPA and other anti-bribery laws, such as the UK Bribery Act.

A long-standing and active member of the American Bar Association (ABA), Goodale currently serves as co-chair of the ABA Section of International Law’s National Security Committee and vice-chair of the ABA Intellectual Property Law Section’s Business and Trade Division. He also currently is the chair of the Virginia State Bar’s International Practice Section and co-chair of the D.C. Bar’s International Trade Committee.

Goodale is a graduate of the George Washington University Law School (J.D., 2001), where he was a Dean’s Fellow and a notes editor for the American Intellectual Property Law Association Quarterly Journal. Prior to obtaining his J.D., Goodale obtained a M.A. in Government and a B.A. in Russian Studies and Government (with honors) from the College of William and Mary.

About Duane Morris

Duane Morris LLP provides innovative solutions to today’s multifaceted legal and business challenges through the collegial and collaborative culture of its more than 800 attorneys in offices across the United States and internationally. The firm represents a broad array of clients, spanning all major practices and industries.

Specialised banking license in Lithuania by Yuliya Barabash

Lithuania and mainly its capital Vilnius became a new flagship of European banking services centres. Favourable regulatory and tax environment, excellent infrastructure, fast Internet, cheap office space and the ability to select high-quality budget personnel make Vilnius attractive for both large international banking institutions and FinTech startups.

Moreover, in 2018, the Central Bank of Lithuania won the Central Banking FinTech RegTech Global Awards for its comprehensive approach to regulating the provision of financial services, namely in creating a favourable environment for the development of financial technologies and openness for financial service providers. Are there any other arguments for choosing this jurisdiction for the Fintech project?

In this article we will talk about a unique offer – a specialised banking license in Lithuania with reduced requirements for authorised capital – what is it about? How to get such a banking license? What functionality does this type of license cover?

What is a specialised bank?

Specialised banking license is a concept introduced in Lithuanian legislation from January 1, 2017 as a type of universal banking license. The main difference of this type of license is the requirement for the size of the authorised capital. The standard size of the authorised capital for the European Bank is 5 million Euros, while the Specialised banking license in Lithuania is issued for a company with the authorised company only 1 million Euros. It significantly simplifies the creation of your bank, isn’t it?

Functional authority

The terms of reference that this license gives its owners are very extensive – a company with a specialised banking license has the right to provide the following services: receiving deposits and other repayable funds; lending (including mortgage lending); financial leasing; payment services; issuance and management of travellers checks, bank checks and other means of payment; providing financial guarantees; financial inter-mediation (agent activity); money management; credit rating services; safe rental; currency exchange (cash); issue of electronic money.

The only functional difference between a specialised and a universal banking license is the presence of restrictions on providing investment services, management of investment and pension funds, and other similar activities. However, in practice for these purposes an alternative company is registered with the subsequent receipt of a permit for investment activity and asset management of third parties.

Conditions for obtaining a banking license

The times for obtaining a specialised banking license in Lithuania is another incredible advantage of this type of service. With such broad powers, a company licensing takes from 6 to 12 months after providing all of the necessary documentation. Capital requirement, as mentioned above, is only 1 million Euros.

Also, to obtain such a banking license, you will need to confirm the economic presence of your company in Lithuania: you need a real local office, the minimum number of bank management staff must be 10 people, but at least one of them must be a resident of Lithuania and speak Lithuanian.

Brexit and Lithuanian specialised banking license

Brexit made adjustments even to the functioning of well-known FinTech startups – the “certification” of companies’ activities became an issue. What does it mean?

International financial companies licensed in the UK are looking for the possibility of licensing their services in one of the EEA countries to provide services to residents of the entire zone. For these purposes a specialised bank in Lithuania is suitable like no other – a wide range of powers, comfortable licensing terms, minimal authorised capital. Who would you think in the forefront received a specialised banking license, rather than the famous financial institution Revolut? It’s worth to consider.

Our team is happy to offer you not only a full package of services for obtaining a specialised banking license in Lithuania, but also assistance in opening corporate and segregated accounts, obtaining membership in SEPA and SWIFT, connecting to Visa/Mastercard, as well as other legal support issues of your project. Get an advice on establishing your Specialised bank in Lithuania today. SBSB International Law Company – your business, our concerns.

UK and China trade relations championed by investment minister visit

International Trade Minister Graham Stuart MP travels to China today, to bolster the trade relationship between the UK and China post-Brexit.

Beginning his visit in the Chinese capital Beijing, the Minister will meet with key representatives in the Chinese government in the Ministry of Commerce and officials at the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), to promote the UK-China economic relationship and champion British business in the region.

While in China, he will meet with dozens of potential investors, hosting roundtables with Chinese life sciences, education, infrastructure and financial services businesses, to promote the strengths of the UK as an investment destination and encourage stronger trade ties between the two countries.

The visit will see Minister Stuart lead a 200-strong delegation of UK business leaders representing sectors such as tech, manufacturing, transport and education to the Smart China Expo in Chongqing , where he will champion the UK’s global leadership in smart technology, and attend the UK’s flagship pavilion at the Horticulture Expo in Beijing, where the UK is showcasing its leadership in clean energy and sustainable development.

The 10-day visit comes as trade and investment with China reaches record levels, bilateral trade between the 2 countries has more than doubled over the past 10 years, with the latest statistics showing trade has succeeded the £70bn mark for the first time during the last financial year.

Over the last decade, China has been the 3rd biggest contributor to the overall increase in British exports, beaten only by Germany and the USA.

Speaking ahead of his visit, the Minister for Investment Graham Stuart said:

China is a world-leading economy and the UK’s largest trading partner outside of Europe and North America, holding unparalleled opportunities for UK businesses.

Britain is committed to strengthening the UK-China trading relationship to ensure UK firms are poised to seize the opportunities the region offers as our trading relationship continues to blossom.

I hope my visit will be instrumental to winning investments into the UK , while opening up new opportunities for UK firms and fostering greater partnerships between our two great nations.

The Minister’s visit follows on from the UK-China 10th Economic and Financial Dialogue (EFD) which took place in London in June this year.

The EFD saw the former Chancellor, Philip Hammond, and Chinese Vice Premier, Hu Chunhua, launch the London-Shanghai Stock Connect UK, which allowed listed companies to sell their shares in China for the first time, alongside the announcement of £500 million worth of commercial deals and partnerships.

Minister Stuart’s visit is expected to secure a number of commercial deals and new partnerships between British and Chinese businesses.