Press release

Minister Field visits China for trade, security and human rights talks

Foreign & Commonwealth Office Minister (FCO) Mark Field arrives in China for wide-ranging talks on trade, security and human rights.

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Mark Field, the FCO Minister for Asia and the Pacific, will arrive in Beijing today (Tuesday 22 August) for high level talks on regional security, trade and investment, human rights and the illegal wildlife trade.

He will become the first UK minister to visit China since the general election in June 2017 and will meet China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Vice Foreign Minister Wang Chao and Assistant Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou.

The minister will also meet representatives of organisations involved in combating the illegal wildlife trade, ahead of the Illegal Wildlife Trade conference being held in London in March 2018.

Beijing will be the first stop in a 10-day visit to Asia, which will include meetings in Hong Kong, South Korea and Singapore.

Mark Field, Minister for Asia and the Pacific, said:

China is a key global player and an essential partner for the UK in many areas, not least trade and investment and foreign policy. This has been particularly clear in recent weeks as we worked closely with China and other United Nations partners to respond to the threat North Korea poses to regional stability and security. We exported £16.7 billion worth of goods and services to China in 2016 and that figure will continue to grow as we strengthen links between our countries.

I look forward to discussions on these issues in Beijing, and harnessing the UK-China Global Partnership to tackle issues of global concern such as the illegal wildlife trade.

Background

  1. Mark Field MP was appointed as Minister for Asia and the Pacific at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in June 2017.
  2. China has the world’s second largest economy (contributing 15% of global GDP) and the UK remains one of the top destinations for Chinese investment. The UK’s total exports to China have grown by almost 68% between 2010 and 2016. £16.7 billion worth of goods and services was exported in 2016.
  3. Over half a million Chinese visitors applied for visas to come to the UK for tourism and study last year. There are currently over 155,000 students from China, Hong Kong and Macau studying in the UK.
  4. The UK is committed to tackling the illegal wildlife trade, including for ivory. The London Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade in early 2014 brought together the international community, including representatives from the Chinese Government, to strengthen co-operation. China has since increased its enforcement and publicly destroyed over 6 tonnes of seized ivory.

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Published 22 August 2017