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Engineering SMEs targeted by new China – UK trade partnership

Author : J GALE

08 February 2011

Small to medium sized engineering firms specialising in safety and fire protection products wanting to enter the multi billion pound bi-lateral trade market between the UK and China are being targeted by an ambitious new partnership.

The partnership is being launched by North West based Mitchell Charlesworth one of the UK’s leading independent accountants and Christine Lee & Co – a law firm with offices in the UK, China and Hong Kong. Christine Lee & Co is the chief legal adviser to the Chinese embassy in London. It is further the only UK Chinese firm authorised by the Chinese Ministry of Justice to practise as a foreign law firm in China.

Launching the partnership Mitchell Charlesworth partner Paul Wainwright and Christine Lee director of Christine Lee & Co urged the SMEs from across the UK to seize the opportunities presented by the partnership.

“We cannot state this strongly enough,” said Ms Lee. “There is massive interest among SMEs in China to do business with their counterparts in the UK. To put that in context an estimated 250,000 Chinese SMEs actively want to do business in Britain.  The type of business they want to do includes joint ventures, research and development and mergers and acquisitions.  The stumbling block, however, is that many simply do not know how to do it and how to make contact with UK firms. The same goes for UK SMEs wanting to enter the China market. That is where this partnership comes in. We will act as a bridge between firms in the UK and China sharing contacts and expertise in the key areas of law and finance. We will help UK and Chinese SMEs find partners and make deals happen.”

Mr Wainwright said opportunities existed in China for UK SMEs across sectors including engineering fire safety and hazard protection products. He said Chinese firms are keen to invest in firms to get a foothold in the UK market and produce products for the Chinese market. 

“The partnership will offer contacts in China and in depth understanding of law, finance and culture in both the UK and China,” he said. “We believe this is the first partnership of its kind specialising in bi-lateral trade advice to SMEs here and in China.  With our background as an SME specialist with considerable expertise in  tax, deal structures and due diligence we know we have a huge amount to offer together with Christine Lee & Co’s knowledge of Chinese and UK law. Moreover with the Prime Minister wanting to increase bi-lateral trade with China to £60 billion a year by 2015 we know this is a terrific opportunity for the future. Furthermore we want small firms to be right at the forefront of those opportunities.”

Wu Xiaomin the Chinese Embassy’s Manchester consul said the partnership is being launched at the ‘right time’.

“This partnership will be an important link between Britain and China,” he said. “More Chinese businesses are coming to the region and they need help to understand British business and the culture here. This kind of trade is the future. And there are major opportunities for British businesses in China. It is very important to promote these opportunities.”

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