Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

China Should Open Financial Sector More, U.K.'s McGuinness Says

China needs to further liberalize its financial sector as a "huge interest" in domestic market assets is expected to grow, said Catherine McGuinness, the policy chairman of the City of London Corporation.

Chinese and British officials talked about potential partnerships on President Xi Jinping’s flagship Belt and Road Initiative, green finance and innovations such as fintech, McGuinness said in an interview Saturday on the sidelines of a two-day economic dialogue between the two nations in Beijing. She was part of a delegation led by U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond that announced up to 25 billion pounds ($33.3 billion) in financial support, including loan guarantees, as part of the bilateral talks over the weekend.

Read more about the deals signed during the U.K.-China Economic and Financial Dialogue.

"It would be good to see more opening up and liberalization, but the sense we get is we are moving in a very positive direction," said McGuinness. "Seeing internationalization of the RMB widened would be a good initiative," she said referring to the Chinese currency.

China took a major step last month toward the long-awaited opening of its financial system, removing foreign ownership limits on its banks and asset-management companies, and allowing overseas firms to take majority stakes in local securities ventures and insurers.

The bilateral talks took place as the U.K. government is pushing ahead with efforts to divorce from the European Union, a move that could challenge London’s role as a global financial hub. China and the U.K. should strengthen cooperation on major projects "to a new level" in the face of Brexit, Chinese Vice Premier Ma Kai said at the meeting.

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"I detected concern about the rate of the progress on negotiations and concern about the short-term uncertainty" among major stakeholders on Brexit, McGuinness said. "But there’s a long-term commitment to London and the wish to do business with us."

— With assistance by Tian Chen

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