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UK’s links with China are vital, says Sir Tony Baldry MP
BANBURY MP Sir Tony Baldry has stressed the importance of the UK’s relationship with China after receiving an award from the country’s embassy.
Sir Tony was presented with the Fellowship Award of the 48 Group for outstanding contribution to China-British relations at the Chinese Embassy in London by Chinese Ambassador Liu Xiaoming on Tuesday.
The 48 Group is a group of British businesses that has been promoting positive relations with China since 1948.
Sir Tony told the Oxford Mail: “It is important to continue our relationship with China because it is an incredibly important market.
“It is a hugely important growing market for UK exports.”
He added: “With Bicester Village, we have one of the most popular destinations (for Chinese tourists).” Of the 48 Group, he said: “Just after World War Two in 1948 there was a group of British businesses who decided that China was too important a country to be ignored by the UK.
“The 48 group became a very influential group doing business with China.”
Earlier this month, it was announced that Cherwell had been twinned with the Chinese city of Xishuangbanna.
Under the partnership, the Chinese government could fund Mandarin lessons in Banbury and Bicester.
Sir Tony said: “It is one of the first districts in the UK to be twinned with a region of China.
“The other place in the world that Xishuangbanna is twinned with is Austin, Texas.
“Clearly the people of south west China recognise the importance of Cherwell.”
He added: “I first visited China some 30 years ago. During my time in the House of Commons I remained persistent in building relations with China.
“I am pleased that the work done over many years has been recognised by the 48 group and the Chinese Embassy.”
Advertising tycoon Sir Martin Sorrell, former BA chief executive Willie Walsh, former Labour Cabinet Minister Liam Byrne and Lord Howe were also made fellows of the 48 Group with Sir Tony.
Sir Tony, a former member of the all party parliamentary China group. added: “China is going to play an important part in everybody’s lives.”
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