SHANGHAI, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) -- Britain and China will finalize deals this week in sectors as diverse as financial services, education, energy, and health care, visiting British Prime Minister Theresa May said in Shanghai Friday.
The two countries have agreed on moves to open up the Chinese market to some of Britain's world class financial services providers, May said in a speech delivered to the China-UK Business Forum held in Shanghai.
Liam Fox, British Secretary of State for International Trade, also said at the forum that many British financial institutions are supportive of any agreement between the two countries, which would help bolster investment and lead to trade opportunities.
"The United Kingdom is the world's largest exporter of financial services. Our expertise has helped to realize ambitions across the world of financing," said Fox, adding that Chinese growth has created a huge demand for financial services.
May began her three-day visit to China on Wednesday with a delegation of British entrepreneurs and business leaders from the energy, finance, and trade sectors. Analysts said financial cooperation would be one of the main focuses of her visit.
"The British government has focused on building close economic ties with the rapidly growing and increasingly important economies around the world, and top of that list has to be China," David Mann, global chief economist with Standard Chartered Bank, said in an interview with Xinhua.
On Wednesday, Standard Chartered Bank signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China Development Bank, formalizing a strategic partnership that aims to facilitate trade and investment related to the Belt and Road Initiative.
The MoU will enable China Development Bank, one of the country's largest financial institutions, to make available up to 10 billion yuan (about 1.6 billion U.S. dollars) in aggregate in the next five years to Standard Chartered.
Bill Winters, group chief executive of Standard Chartered, said that the MoU would bring the two banks closer together, and offer more flexibility of funding to support projects along the Belt and Road routes.
"Financial institutions from both sides would like to do more business all around the world, including in each other's economy," Mann said. "Having more access and more ability to do business in either side's market is an advantage for both sides."
Catherine McGuinness, policy chairman at the City of London Corporation, said the two sides had made excellent progress in the long-anticipated Shanghai-London Stock Connect and preparations for UK-China bond market connect in 2017.
She believed that cooperation between the two countries in financial and professional services will go from strength to strength.