by Xinhua writers Liang Xizhi, Deng Qian
LONDON, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) -- Britain's relationship with China is more important than ever as the country is negotiating its departure from the European Union (EU), said Britain's Lord Mayor of London Andrew Parmley in a recent interview with Xinhua.
Parmley was to lead a business delegation to Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin on Feb. 16-26, in a bid to strengthen the commercial ties with China and promote Britain as one of the best destinations for investment and business.
The lord mayor said China is a vital trade and investment partner for Britain, and his visit comes at an opportune time to show that Britain remains open for business.
"It is no secret that our relationship with China is more important than ever as we negotiate our departure from the EU. But I believe that opportunities to collaborate will continue to emerge, befitting both our economies, as well as driving wider global growth," he said.
The year 2017 will mark the 45th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral relations between China and Britain, which Parmley believed has been important to both countries.
He noted that the "golden era" of bilateral relations will continue in the future.
"China and UK have got a long-standing relationship, a great friendship, particularly in the last 45 years. Most importantly, two years ago, we hosted your president here in London at a state banquet, and cemented the great relationship," he said.
In his four-day visit to Hong Kong, Parmley will meet senior business leaders to explore opportunities for further cooperation on international trade.
Parmley said he will reiterate the commitment to deepening the long-term links between China and Britain. "I will celebrate the bond of economic cooperation that binds our nations, and I will explore new ways for us to work together."
Parmley said he looks forward to "reinforcing my knowledge and making this the start of a lasting relationship with your country."
Parmley believed as the financial and commercial heart of both Britain and Europe, the City of London will be a natural partner for the Chinese investors and businessmen who want to expand their global presence.
"This morning I met with the chief executives of five Chinese banks in London. They are very positive about continuing to work here," he said.
Speaking of the ongoing Brexit negotiations, Parmley said, "We believe that the prime minister has listened to what our City had to say, and adopted requests for the negotiations for the building of her 12-point plan for the negotiations for the Brexit arrangement."
The lord mayor of the City of London represents the City's business circle and helps companies make advises to the government on what is needed to make sure the financial sector function well.