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China (British Financial Services)

Volume 409: debated on Friday 18 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations she has received regarding the scale of the British financial services industry in China; and if she will make a statement. [126577]

TPUK regularly receives requests from UK based financial services companies for support for their China market activities.My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and I shall be leading a high-powered business delegation to Beijing and Shanghai from 20-22 July which will include several financial services companies. I shall be raising a number of trade-related issues with the Chinese leadership, including pressing the case for increased market access by British financial services providers to the Chinese domestic market in line with China's WTO commitments. I will also be seeking a relaxation of some of the administrative and technical hurdles that currently exist (for example the high capitalisation requirements for banks and insurance companies and the lengthy waiting period for second and subsequent branches).At the same time, I shall be encouraging members of the local Chinese business community I meet to take greater advantage of the expertise and experience the City of London is able to offer them in the field of international financial services.