The UK chancellor will try to secure contracts for British companies in China』s flagship Belt and Road Initiative during a conference in Beijing on Thursday — just hours after London authorised Chinese telecoms company Huawei to help build the country』s 5G data network.
英國財政大臣將嘗試在周四於北京舉行的一個會議上為英國企業爭取中國的旗艦「一帶一路」倡議(Belt and Road Initiative)的合同。就在幾小時前，倫敦方面授權中國電信設備製造商華為(Huawei)幫助建設英國的5G數據網路。
Philip Hammond is attending the annual Belt and Road Forum hosted by Chinese president Xi Jinping, where various world leaders will discuss the mammoth project that is attempting to rebuild and expand the old Silk Road between Europe and China.
Mr Hammond will lobby for British companies seeking to provide either finance or engineering expertise for the initiative, the centrepiece of Beijing』s international economic policy. The Treasury said there were potential opportunities in the scheme, which encompasses about 70 countries, for companies in the fields of 「design, engineering, financing, public-private partnerships, and legal services」.
Mr Hammond will hold talks on Thursday with Hu Chunhua, vice-premier, before making a speech on Friday afternoon.
His visit comes amid controversy after senior ministers said Huawei could build some noncore parts of Britain』s 5G data network, despite warnings from Washington about potential security breaches.
Mr Xi』s Belt and Road Initiative is seen by critics as a way for China to spread its influence abroad while saddling some countries with unsustainable debt.
The project, has also been criticised for its lack of financial transparency and reliance on Chinese contractors.
According to a recent study by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Chinese companies received 89 per cent of contracts for Beijing-backed infrastructure projects in Asia and Europe.
根據戰略與國際研究中心(Center for Strategic and International Studies)最近的一項研究，在北京支持的亞洲和歐洲基建項目中，中國企業拿到了89%的合同。
Countries such as the UK, US, Germany and France have so far refused to sign up to a 「memorandum of understanding」 on the project — in contrast to Italy.
In January Mrs May raised western concerns about the project, saying it would only be welcome if it was 「well implemented」 and if it met 「international standards」.
Under David Cameron, the previous Tory prime minister, Britain threw open its doors to Chinese investment, while his chancellor George Osborne brushed aside human rights concerns in pursuit of what he called a 「golden era」 in bilateral relations.
在保守黨前首相戴維•卡梅倫(David Cameron)主政期間，英國向中國投資敞開大門，他手下的財相喬治•奧斯本(George Osborne)避談人權擔憂，而專注於追求他所稱的英中雙邊關係「黃金時代」。
On Tuesday the British government said it still believed there was a 「continuing golden era in UK-China bilateral relations」, emphasising the areas of co-operation between the two global powers.
But Mrs May has pursued a more cautious approach than her predecessor, initiating a review of Chinese investments in British nuclear power stations in the first few months of her premiership.
British exports to China have risen 60 per cent since 2010, far short of the target set by Gordon Brown in 2009 to double exports in 18 months.
Catherine McGuiness, deputy policy chair for the City of London Corporation, said there were 「lots of opportunities」 for British companies whether on project management, financing or insurance.
倫敦金融城公司(City of London Corporation)副政策主席凱瑟琳•麥吉尼斯(Catherine McGuinness)表示，無論是項目管理、融資還是保險方面，英國公司面臨「大量機遇」。
「I think that London is almost the natural end of the Belt & Road with its specialism in infrastructure financing,」 she told the BBC. 「So far China has tended to finance these projects themselves. As they bring in international financing, we are already seeing firms based in London participating.」
Ms McGuiness said there were 「billions of pounds in trade opportunities」 for the business world given the numerous projects taking place across 70 countries.
Mr Hammond is expected to press the Chinese government on ensuring that BRI projects develop in line with international standards on debt sustainability, environmental impact and climate change, social impact and transparency.
In February Mr Hammond cancelled a planned trip to China after defence secretary Gavin Williamson suggested in a speech that Britain would send a new aircraft carrier to China』s backyard. That led to a meeting with Mr Hu being cancelled and to the chancellor dropping the trip completely.