Russell Brown OBE, Managing Partner of LehmanBrown International Accountants featured on CCTV News
Russell Brown OBE, Managing Partner at LehmanBrown International Accountants and former Chair of BritCham, was invited on to CCTV-NEWS to discuss China-UK ties in light of the recent state visit to the UK by President Xi. Mr Brown highlighted the significance of this visit and the potential start of a new ‘golden era’ between the two countries as the relationship continues to develop in terms of China’s Overseas Direct Investment (ODI), strategic trade links, tourism and education.
President Xi’s visit and discussions about maintaining and developing China-UK relations for the long-term have left a generally positive and optimistic atmosphere. Mr Brown noted that throughout the duration of the visit both countries have been able to learn more about each other and this mutual understanding is necessary for the relationship to progress.
As Britain opens its markets and encourages more trade from China, it is hoped that in return restricted and prohibited industries in China will be re-evaluated. Mr Brown hopes that changes will be seen especially in sectors that Britain is strong in, for example financial services and insurance. More open industries would allow British businesses to expand into the Chinese market and also aid China’s growth.
Having lived and worked in China for fifteen years, Mr. Brown has experienced first hand some of the difficulties for businesses operating in China. The problems and uncertainties that businesses face are constantly evolving but Mr Brown highlights that Internet access and data speed are currently hindering optimal business and trade.
Outside that, the application of regulations in a transparent and uniform way throughout China would also help alleviate some of the complexities for businesses. Mr Brown also explained that the transparency of information is key for companies to understand who they are doing business with. Although improvements have been seen in information disclosure, clarity and accuracy, developments are still needed to keep trade relations moving forward.
Although the majority of LehmanBrown’s customers are overseas clients looking to branch out and expand into the Chinese market, Mr Brown has seen an increase in the number of Chinese companies also aspiring to move overseas.
In terms of industries, rebalancing of the economy has been seen in high-tech sectors, green/bio tech and high-end manufacturing. The UK is going to play a significant role in enhancing China’s trade as it is an important link.
Both China and the UK have a history in trading. Mr Brown hopes that both countries can work with each other to enhance this initiative. The relatively stable nature of the UK political system enables a long-term perspective to be taken on China-UK relations and offers hope for the continued development between two friends.