6th UK-China Young Leaders Roundtable

The 6th annual UK-China Young Leaders Roundtable took place from 5-9 December 2016 in Shanghai & Nanjing, jointly organised by GBCC and the All China Youth Federation, under the theme:

“New Trends of Globalisation and UK-China Global Comprehensive Strategic Partnership for the 21st Century”

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UK and Chinese Roundtable Delegates with Vice Premier Liu Yandong and the Rt Hon Karen Bradley MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport

For the second year running, the profile of the Roundtable was elevated by way of integration with the ministerial level UK-China People-to-People Dialogue, led by the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Health, and Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong.

A particular highlight of the Roundtable was an opening address by Vice Premier Liu Yandong, attended by the Rt Hon Karen Bradley MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport, and all UK and Chinese Roundtable delegates, during which the Vice Premier spoke warmly of her commitment to developing ties between young people in China and the UK, and how much she values the Roundtable as the ‘youth’ component of the People-to-People Dialogue.

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GBCC brought together a cross-party delegation of 13 young UK politicians with a Chinese delegation of 15 rising stars from the All-China Youth Federation, the youth organisation of the Chinese ruling party. The UK delegation included seven Members of Parliament, the largest number of MPs to attend the Roundtable in China since its inception. Former Chief Secretary to the Treasury, the Rt. Hon Liam Byrne MP, attended in his capacity as co-Founder of the Roundtable, and as delegation leader for all 5 previous iterations of the initiative. At this Roundtable he handed over the role of delegation leader to Charlotte Leslie MP, an alumnus of the Roundtable and former Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Ministers in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Trade.

Roundtable co-Founder and delegate, the Rt Hon Liam Byrne MP, was appointed as Head of the ‘Youth’ Strand of the UK-China People-to-People Dialogue, and in this capacity he delivered an address to the full P2PD Plenary Session in the Shanghai Tower, alongside 8 other strand leaders including UK Ministers the Rt Hon Justine Greening MP, Secretary of State for Education, and the Rt Hon Karen Bradley MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media, and Sport. In this address, Byrne reflected on the achievements and growth of the UK-China Youth Leaders Roundtable to date, and highlighted the areas of significant potential for future cooperation. These achievements and objectives were cemented through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between GBCC Chairman Sir Martin Davidson and ACYF Vice President Wang Hongyan at the P2PD signing ceremony, one of 13 agreements signed at the Dialogue. The Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP expressed in his P2PD keynote address how pleased he was to see so many UK MPs attend the event, and his high hopes for the future of such Party-to-Party exchanges between UK and China.

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One of the unique advantages of the UK-China Young Leaders Roundtable is the platform which it provides for informal, candid discussion and debate between our countries future political leaders. At the closing of the 2016 installment, Liam Byrne commented:

“When we created the Young Leaders Roundtable six years ago, it was a little bit formal and ceremonial. Then it moved to being much more candid and creative”.

All participants – both on the UK and Chinese side – identified the characteristic “breakout sessions” as the most productive element of the programme and the element which they most enjoyed. These discussions not only gave participants the opportunity to delve deeper into the topics at hand, but also helped them to gain a better understanding of one another, and to develop friendships that will carry over into future Roundtables as well as independent initiatives. This is a core objective of the UK-China Young Leaders Roundtable, and was demonstrably achieved this year.

GBCC is grateful to Prudential plc for their generous sponsorship, without which this annual political dialogue cannot take place. Prudential’s involvement in the Roundtable, with two of their own young leaders joining the UK delegation, and their active participation throughout the week – including a keynote presentation on social welfare and recent Prudential research on generational trends in this area – was appreciated by the Parliamentary delegates. Engagement such as this with companies at the forefront of UK-China collaboration was an important element of the Roundtable programme, and as well as Prudential this also included field visits to a leading incubator TusStar (Shanghai), and to Sanpower, which owns UK department store House of Frasier and recently opened a Hamleys toy store in Nanjing.

Date posted: 27 January 2017

Categories: Political Dialogues


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