High level Chinese delegation welcomed to discuss research on UK/China trade and investment with Africa

17 November 2014

A senior delegation from Chinese think tank CAITEC and from the Ministry of Commerce spent a week in the UK as part of IDS-led project on China-UK Cooperation on Trade and Investment in Poverty Reduction

Group photo taken during CAITEC-MOFCOM visit to IDS in October 2014. Credit. R.Coleman - IDS

The China-UK Cooperation on Trade and Investment in Poverty Reduction project was launched earlier this year in Beijing, by the UK Secretary of State for International Development, Justine Greening, and China's Assistant Minister of Commerce, Wang Shouwen.

At the time of the launch, the Secretary of State said “This partnership has the potential to lead to multiple wins, for the African nations themselves as we build up the evidence base on their specific needs and priorities in those countries, and for the UK and China as well.”

During the week of 27-31 October, project lead, Dr Jing Gu, was pleased to welcome both the international research team for the project as well as a delegation from the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation (CAITEC) and representatives from China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), including Director Binjian Kang, and the China office of the UK Department for International Development (DFID), including Senior Economist, Shantanu Mitra.

Their packed programme included a workshop hosted at the Ministry of Justice, with presentations from representatives of UK Government departments including DFID, the Trade Policy Unit and UK Trade and Investment, and a workshop held at IDS, which was opened by IDS Director, Melissa Leach, and included presentations by DFID China, MOFCOM and colleagues at the University of Sussex and IDS. 

Project lead, Dr Jing Gu said, “We were delighted to be able to host colleagues from across the research project and those who have a direct interest in our findings. This was both an opportunity to share interim findings from the project and strengthen our relationships both within the research team and with our colleagues in DFID and MOFCOM.”

At the Ministry of Justice meeting, Shantanu Mitra introduced the project, and said, “the purpose of today’s meeting is to help generate a better understanding on both sides of approaches, range of policy instruments and the strategy being followed by the Chinese and UK governments with regards to supporting African trade, and explore where there might be synergies.”

The delegation also met with senior UK politicians, including Sir Malcolm Bruce MP and Fabian Hamilton MP of the international development select committee and Peter Lilley MP, who chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group for Trade Out of Poverty.  The wide-ranging discussions focused on how the UK and China can work more closely together to address pressing global challenges such as poverty and climate change and the opportunities and challenges inherent in closer cooperation.

The project is still at its scoping phase, but Mr Hongbin Ren, vice president of CAITEC, said “although we are still halfway through the research process, our current findings are already showing that China and the UK are both important trading and investment partners for Africa.”

Bingjian Kang, Director of International Cooperation at MOFCOM, said “I hope our discussions will inspire new initiatives for future (more concrete) collaboration between China and the UK.”

Image credit: R.Coleman - IDS