Square Mile seeks Shanghai link

By CECILY LIU | China Daily UK | Updated: 2017-08-30 17:02

The City of London is looking to Shanghai as a potential partner for funding projects along the route of China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative.

The City is in talks with Shanghai's municipal government about a collaboration at a time when Brexit uncertainties is prompting the UK's main financial district to look beyond Europe for future business partners, according to Sherry Madera, the City of London Corporation's special adviser for Asia.

"We see London as the obvious partner for all foreign exchanges relating to the Belt and Road," Madera told reporters in London on Tuesday. "We also believe London's professional experience in contract law will be helpful in countries along the Belt and Road."

The City of London signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Shanghai for such a partnership, which covered the period 2010-14. It was renewed for 2015-18.

That agreement has led to closer collaboration in financial services partnerships, the development of the two cities' shipping financing industries, and London's assistance to Shanghai in developing a Free Trade Zone.

Investors' interest in London is unshaken by Brexit uncertainty, Madera said. "There is still resounding commitment."

There are 26 Chinese organizations with offices in the Square Mile.

China's Bank of Communications has upgraded its subsidiary to branch last year in the City of London while Shanghai Clearing House opened an office in the City of London.

"Chinese investors have longterm horizon for their investment, which involves planning for five to ten years," said Madera. "They want to know will London remain a global financial center. The answer to China is 'Yes', but we need to make sure we are taking our investments seriously."

The City of London has four overseas offices worldwide, of which two are located in China-one in Beijing and one in Shanghai.

Madera, whose role was created as a part of efforts to further engage with Asia, said joint initiatives could be announced later in the year at the annual UK-China Economic and Financial Dialogue.

Last year's event saw regulators creating a bilateral financial technology bridge, allowing the governments to exchange information and knowledge to better regulate financial technology companies expanding into each other's markets.

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