by Patricia Hewitt
Thank you for that introduction, Ambassador. I'm delighted to be here at Invest UK's ICT seminar in Shanghai today, and to be sharing a platform with Sir Robin Saxby (Chairman ARM), Sir David Brown (Chairman Motorola UK) and Sir Chris Gent (Chairman, Vodafone).
Chris and Robin both appeared in Time magazine's "World's Top 25 Digital Players"just a couple of weeks ago. I'm delighted they're here to promote British excellence in ICT—they really do represent the best of British.
Today I want to talk about the huge opportunities for our countries to work closer together. Our nations have great and proud histories. Together, our creativity, our innovation and our courage have set the pace in world economic development for centuries China invented paper, printing and blast furnaces for smelting iron Britain invented the computer, television and the Internet.
And now we are on the verge of a new revolution. Information and communication industries are transforming the way we live, work and do business. Britain and China, together, have a chance to once again set the pace for the world. Building on our strengths—the best of old and the best of new—and China's new openness and participation in the global economy.
China's recent economic transformation-domestically and internationally—has been outstanding. The number of British businesses, figures out here this week pays testament to this. Digby Jones, Sir John Egan, the Lord Mayor of London and Sir Harry Kroto—the Nobel prize winner for his work on nanotechnology一have all been here this week, as well as as Pascal Lamy.
China's GDP grew by 7. 8% in the second quarter of 2002 alone. And since my last visit here to Shanghai a year and a half ago, I have personally seen the most extraordinary change. Perhaps most significant though is Chinese new openness to the rest of the world, particularly since her accession to the WTO.
We are now working together as partners in the WTO, taking forward the Doha Development Agenda. China's activity in the global economy presents the world with challenges and opportunities—particularly us in Britain.
Challenges because, on the one hand, some of our more labour intensive industries, like textiles in my constituency, will have to become ever more productive if they are to compete with low cost Chinese producers. And we will increasingly find our future lies in more technical textile production. rather than cotton T-shirts.