Employment is at record levels—27, 8 million—with over 1.4 million jobs created since 1997. We remain a world leader in the delivery of services. And as the Chinese market diversifies away from heavy manufacturing UK companies stand well placed to develop new business. Our finance and insurance firms can take advantage of increasing liberalisation in these sectors.
Another area of opportunity is in telecommunications. Cellular phone penetration is now 11 % in China and it is already the biggest mobile market in the world.
Britain is the EU's largest investor in China. We need to broaden this cooperation, particularly with China's non-state sector.
Most importantly of all, Chinas accession to the WTO in November 2001 —which the UK fully supported—marked the opening up of new opportunities for British business and the chance to compete more fairly in a huge market place.
We want to encourage China's closer integration into the international system, including economic, financial and trade structures.
We also welcome China's involvement in global challenges such as the proliferation weapons of mass destruction, the environment, drugs, terrorism and AIDS.
As a fellow member of the Permanent Five of the UN Security Council we have already greatly valued China's cooperation on issues such as the war against terrorism, The bilateral relationship is in good shape.
We also want to ensure that the rising generation of decision-makers and young professionals in China have an accurate, up-to-date image of Britain and gain a better understanding of the relevance of the UK to their own lives.
To this end we are planning a series of high-profile events later this year across China to illustrate creativity and innovation in modem Britain.
I want to thank the China Britain Business Council for putting on this conference and wish them well The Prime Minister and I are very appreciative of the role played by the CBBC and the high regard in which it is held in China.
US academic John Richardson Jr. said, "When it comes to the future, there are three kinds of people: those who let it happen, those who make it happen and those who wondered what happened."
I know you will join us in being among those who make it happen.