Guernsey has been strengthening its relationships with key government and regulatory officials in China.

Peter Niven, Chief Executive of Guernsey Finance – the promotional agency for the Island's finance industry, joined the Lord Mayor of the City of London, Alderman Nick Anstee, for the Beijing and Shanghai legs of his recent visit to the country.

The trip included meeting again with Tu Guangshao, the Vice-Mayor of Shanghai, who has hosted Guernsey's Chief Minister, Lyndon Trott, on several occasions and visited the Island towards the end of 2008.

"Travelling with Alderman Anstee provided us with another opportunity to strengthen our relationships in Beijing and Shanghai and also reinforced our strong connections with the City of London," said Mr Niven.

"Indeed, this visit enabled us to show our hosts the complementary nature of the relationship between Guernsey and London and at the same time we yet further developed our contacts in the City. For example, as well as Alderman Anstee, I was able to build on friendships with Chris Gibson-Smith, Chairman of the London Stock Exchange and Miles Templeman, Director General of the Institute of Directors and also initiate new relationships with other members of the delegation, including leading practitioners from London law firms."

Guernsey has had a representative office in Shanghai led by Wendy Weng since the end of 2007.

"Having Wendy on the ground in Shanghai also gave us the opportunity to set-up our own parallel itinerary. This meant that when not attending official appointments as part of the Lord Mayor's delegation then Wendy and I were able to hold separate meetings with government and regulatory officials," said Mr Niven.

This included meeting with Dr Fang Xinghai, Director General of the Shanghai Municipal Financial Services Office, as well as meeting with government tax officials and representatives from the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC), the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) and the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC).

"I also know that Wendy had arranged itineraries for Gerald Hough from State Street and Alan Chick from the Richmond Group in Guernsey to visit finance industry practitioners in the region at the same time I was in China and it was very useful to meet up with them and exchange ideas about our trips. It is extremely encouraging to see Gerald and Alan utilising the resource that is available to anyone from the Island to make their own visits, develop their knowledge base and build contacts," added Mr Niven.

The Lord Mayor's delegation visited Shanghai while it is hosting World Expo 2010. Some 250 countries, regions and organisations are showcasing their culture in an event themed – under the title 'Better City, Better Life' – around sustainable development. Expo is expected to attract 70 million visitors during the six months it is open from 1 May to 31 October this year on a site of 5.3 square kilometres (twice the size of Monaco) and at some $50 billion is anticipated to cost more than staging the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008.

The UK Pavilion at Expo designed by Thomas Heatherwick has scooped Britain's top international architectural award, the prestigious Royal Institute of British Architects' (RIBA) Lubetkin Prize 2010.

It is a six storey high object formed from some 60,000 slender transparent rods, which extend from the structure and quiver in the breeze. During the day, each of the 7.5 metre long rods draw on daylight to illuminate the interior while at night, light sources at the interior end of each rod allow the whole structure to glow.

The interior is known as the Seed Cathedral because visitors – via the tens of thousands of seeds that have been encased into the ends of the transparent rods – are able to view seeds of plant species that contribute to national and global conservation programmes. The UK Pavilion is attracting around 45,000 people per day and is expected to have had 6 million visitors throughout the six months.

The Lord Mayor's delegation visited Expo during the week when the UK was promoting its strength in financial services.

Mr Niven added: "Guernsey has already built strong relationships with government and regulatory officials in Beijing and Shanghai and this visit was extremely useful in reinforcing them ahead of what we anticipate to be a busy and productive autumn."

As part of Guernsey's commitment to tax transparency, the Island's Government and the Government of China are making arrangements for a Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) to be signed between the two jurisdictions in the near future. In addition, Guernsey's Chief Minister, Lyndon Trott, will travel to China in early November to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Shanghai Municipal Financial Services Office.

Guernsey is also continuing to seek approval for its companies to list on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX), has progressed the signing of a MoU with the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) and is starting the ball rolling on signing a similar MoU with the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC).

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