Hopefully the year of the Tiger will be a good one for China-UK relations. After a period of decidedly frosty trade relations between the UK and China since the UK made a decision to ban Huawei from its 5G network it is very welcome to learn the mood in Number 10 has changed. The Prime Minister following advice from senior colleagues has signalled that he wants a thaw in relations with China. Surely now more than ever at a time of huge instability in Eastern Europe better relations between countries around the world is good for all humanity.
For all those involved in trade with China, whether exporting, importing or manufacturing in China this is surely welcome a welcome move and one which will hopefully benefit both economies. The UK- China Economic and Trade Commission (JETCO) is to restart. In addition according to the Guardian Newspaper the UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak is about to agree a return of the annual trade summit (UK-China Economic and Financial Dialogue (EFD)).
Whilst most of this affect big business and large contracts it is to be hoped this will pave the way for better relations generally with China and an easing of restrictions on trade for smaller businesses too in both countries.
With the current restrictions and barriers to travel to China anything which paves the way for easier trade is to be welcomed by all those with an interest in this field. With no end in sight to the travel ban imposed to support China’s zero covid policy it is becoming increasingly difficult for businesses outside China to maintain efficient trade and we are increasingly seeing companies forced to delay trade and new contracts in particular until such time as their representatives are able to actually go to China, visit the factories and customers and discuss often complex issues face to face. Whilst there is no substitute to a face to face meeting we are able to help companies to some extent using our staff and offices in China to represent their interests, visit factories and trouble shoot problems – a role which is increasingly important to our customers at a time when travel to China is impossible.