Chinese Vice-Premier Ma Kai and Philip Hammond, the United Kingdom’s finance minister, will head the ninth UK-China Economic and Financial Dialogue in Beijing, from Friday to Saturday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry confirmed on Tuesday.
The British delegation will look to establish opportunities in China for the UK’s financial services sector, and strengthen links with the world’s second-largest economy as Britain prepares to leave the European Union.
A number of leaders from Britain’s financial sector will attend, according to Sky News, including Nikhil Rathi, chief executive of the London Stock Exchange.
Both Chinese and British media are discussing the possibility of an announcement could be made about the mooted London-Shanghai Stock Connect program, given Rathi’s presence.
The link, which was first proposed in 2015, would allow UK investors to buy Chinese shares and vice versa. The LSE has been conducting a feasibility study aimed at working out the technical details.
The program would be similar to the Shanghai Hong Kong Stock Connect, which was launched in 2014. It enables overseas investors to buy into a selection of stocks in China’s onshore share market through the “offshore” Chinese financial center of Hong Kong.
As of the end of October, the Shanghai Hong Kong Stock Connect has supported international investors in trading 3.35 trillion yuan ($509 billion) of shares listed in Shanghai.
Stakeholders would be buoyed by such a development during a difficult period for the LSE.
Xavier Rolet, former chief executive of the LSE Group, which is the organization that Rathi reports to, resigned suddenly in late November during an ongoing governance crisis.
Lu Kang, spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, said China and the UK will discuss macroeconomic issues, trade and investment, industry strategy, financial reform, and the development of the financial market, according to Xinhua News Agency.
The sides will also explore areas of cooperation under the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, the nation’s signature international infrastructure and development program.
“This week’s economic and financial dialogue will see the next phase in the UK’s strengthening relationship with China as we continue to build an economy fit for the future,” a spokesperson for the UK treasury said.”The UK has a huge amount of expertise to offer abroad and is one of the best places in the world to do business, so we look forward to productive talks which build on the progress made at previous dialogues.”
Sky News reported on Monday that Hammond and Rathi will be accompanied by Mark Tucker, chairman of HSBC Holdings and Jose Vinals, chairman of Standard Chartered, as well as Gerry Grimstone, chairman of Standard Life Aberdeen and deputy chairman of Barclays. Others on the trip include Miles Celic, chief executive of the lobbying group TheCityUK, Lord Sassoon, chairman of the China-Britain Business Council, and Catherine McGuinness, policy chairwoman of the City of London Corporation.