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Interview: G20 Hangzhou summit to give further push to int'l issues: City of London official

Editor: zhangrui 丨Xinhua

08-23-2016 08:04 BJT

Full coverage: G20 Hangzhou Summit

by Xinhua writers Zhang Jianhua and Wu Congsi

LONDON, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) -- The upcoming G20 summit in China is "very valuable" in enabling major countries in the world to talk about current global issues, said Mark Boleat, policy chairman of the City of London Corporation, one of the most powerful financial institutions in Europe.

In a recent exclusive interview with Xinhua, Boleat also said he expected the summit to give a further push to important international developments, promote international trade and develop green financing and infrastructure investment.

"The world economy is still very fragile, so we look to the governments of major countries to do whatever they can to promote economic growth and international trade, areas like green finance, infrastructure financing and fintech," he said.

ADDRESSING CONCERNS

Boleat, who has been Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee of the City of London Corporation since 2012, said he hoped G20 leaders would reemphasize the importance of international trade amid rising concerns over trade barriers being re-erected.

"There are concerns about the development of international trade, about trade barriers being erected in some cases rather than being removed; there is a move throughout the world on concerns about the impact of globalization," the policy chief warned.

There's a need to reemphasize the importance of trade and how it benefits people in all countries, he urged.

"It [the world] will be looking to the G20 to make a pretty firm statement that international trade benefits all countries," he added.

The summit, he noted, could only help to improve the economy with concrete actions being taken by national governments.

"So if there can be an agreement on any measures that will help economic growth in individual countries, that will benefit the whole of the world economy," he told Xinhua.

In the interview, he also highlighted the importance of "many informal discussions" that will take place between the world leaders at G20 summit.

CHINA AND G20

On China's role in G20, Boleat said China is the second biggest economy in the world, and as such "it plays a very vital role in the global economy."

"The weight and growth of the Chinese economy will have an impact on other countries in the world, so I think other countries are looking to China to do what it can to maintain its rapid growth, which is way above the western economies," he explained.

He added that the liberalization of the Chinese economy itself "gives more opportunities for institutions in other countries to invest in China and to do business with China."

Speaking of the potential legacy of the G20 Hangzhou summit, the policy chief expected the gathering to push the development which is happening already.

"It's simply about pushing in the same direction and helping initiatives that are already working, giving a further push to important international developments, helping to promote international trade, and developing things like green financing and infrastructure investment," he elaborated.

On international economic governance, Boleat said China "needs to play a very major role in the international agencies."

"The second biggest economy in the world has to play a major role in the international institutions; it can't be a second-tier player when it's such a large economy," he said.

UK-CHINA TIES

In late July, the British government announced it would delay the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant program until autumn to review the proposed project in southwest England.

In a recent article for The Financial Times, Chinese ambassador to Britain Liu Xiaoming said the China-UK relationship is "at a crucial historical juncture" and Hinkley Point is "a test of mutual trust" between the two countries.

However, Boleat stressed that Hinkley Point is not a political issue and should not hurt the UK-China relationship.

"I don't think it is right to look at one development and say that's the only thing that matters," he said.

"This is innately an investment, and it's got to work as an investment, and quite properly the British government wants to ensure that it is the right sort of investment to make in today's circumstances," he added.

Noting that London is the western hub for offshore RMB trading, Boleat said he expected Britain's new ministers to continue the policies of the previous ministers.

"These are the policies of the government, not the individuals concerned, and the prime minister already emphasized the wish to continue very strong relationship between Britain and China," he said.

"We want to see more bond issues in the London market from Chinese institutions that are denominated in RMB; British institutions are very keen to increase their investment in China, so there is a lot more to be done," he continued.

BREXIT EFFECT

Looking at the ramifications of Brexit, Boleat said he hoped Britain's withdrawal from the European Union (EU) would not adversely affect the relationship between Britain and China.

"From what we've done so far and analyses and talks we've had, we don't see any reduced appetite for strengthening the links between Britain and China," he affirmed.

"Europe is very important market for Britain; there are very strong links already between Britain and Europe," he said. "We wish to maintain those and we'll constantly develop our links with China."

Bilateral relations between Britain and China, for the most part, are not dependent on the EU, he argued.

"I don't think Brexit is going to lead to Britain wanting to develop its relations with China more, because Britain wants to do that anyway, regardless of whether it's in the EU or not," said the City policy chairman.

"We don't see them as being alternatives. Britain needs very strong relations with both the EU and China," he added.

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