The Guernsey Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Shanghai Municipal Financial Services Office.

Guernsey's Chief Minister, Lyndon Trott and Fan Yongjin, Deputy Director General of the Shanghai Municipal Financial Services Office, signed an agreement which establishes a framework for exchange and cooperation between the two jurisdictions.

The Chief Minister said: "This Memorandum of Understanding establishes a very important framework for exchange and cooperation between our two jurisdictions and I believe lays the foundations for business growth between Shanghai and Guernsey.

"This agreement represents the strengthening of a broader relationship which we have been building between China and Guernsey over the last three years to the benefit of both of our jurisdictions."

The accord is formally known as the Memorandum of Understanding for Exchange and Cooperation between the Shanghai Municipal Financial Services Office and Guernsey. It highlights how Guernsey can assist in the development of Shanghai as an international finance centre while Shanghai can support Guernsey firms doing business in the city.

This will be achieved through further strengthening governmental relations, including through official visits and encourage personnel secondments between respective stock exchanges, regulatory bodies and commercial enterprises.

The signing ceremony was held on Wednesday 3rd November at the Four Seasons Hotel, Shanghai, in front of an audience of more than 50 local journalists and in the presence of Secretary Ji Wenguan, from the Shanghai Financial Working Commission of the China Party Congress and Tu Guangshao, the Vice-Mayor of Shanghai.

Vice-Mayor Tu spoke of the strengthening relationship between Guernsey and Shanghai during the last three years, including his visit to the Island at the end of 2008. He said that he had been impressed by the expertise and infrastructure which contributes to Guernsey's standing as a leading international finance centre and he hopes to enjoy more of the cliff and coastal scenery by walking around the Island when he makes a return visit in the future.

Vice-Mayor Tu also gave the audience his interpretation of the new Chinese trademark for Guernsey that has recently received approval from the China Trademark Office.

Vice-Mayor Tu said that the character '西' means 'west', where Guernsey is located in relation to Shanghai and China. '耿' consists of two parts: the right part is the Chinese character of 'fire' – it symbols the enthusiasm of our cooperation; the left part is the Chinese character of 'ear', which means we will listen to each other's needs and help each other. The two parts put together make the Chinese character '耿', which means integrity and honesty. So '耿西' is shanghai's friend from the west with integrity and honesty.

In addition, this branding has put 'Guernsey', 'finance' and 'island' all in one package and therefore strongly indentifies Guernsey as an international finance centre.

Peter Niven, Chief Executive of Guernsey Finance – the promotional agency for the Island's finance industry, said: "This Memorandum of Understanding is a very positive development in the enhancement of our relationships in China. We had a very productive meeting with the Shanghai Stock Exchange in the morning and then signed the agreement with the Shanghai Municipal Financial Services Office in the afternoon. We had a very good turnout from the media, the venue and the arrangements were great and the speech by Vice-Mayor Tu was excellent. It bodes very well for the future and means we move on from Shanghai to Hong Kong in high spirits."

The signing ceremony was conducted while a Guernsey delegation led by Chief Minister Trott visits Shanghai. The party includes Mr Niven and Peter Moffatt, Director of the Investment Division of the regulatory body the Guernsey Financial Services Commission (GFSC).

It had come from Beijing where there was a meeting with Madam Fu Ying, Vice Foreign Minister to the Chinese Government, as well as discussions to progress the signing of a MoU with the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) and a similar MoU with the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC). The delegation is now moving on to Hong Kong where it will continue to seek approval for Guernsey companies to list on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX), while also attending the STEP Asia conference and the AVCJ conference.

These latest developments come just a week after Guernsey signed a Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) with China. Chief Minister Trott welcomed a delegation headed by Xiao Jie, Commissioner of the State Administration of Taxation, People's Republic of China, to Guernsey for the signing of the agreement on Wednesday 27th October 2010.

The TIEA with China is the 19th such agreement signed by Guernsey with another jurisdiction* and reinforces the Island's commitment to exchange of information. Guernsey was included in the first wave of territories placed on the G20 'white list' and has been recognised for substantially implementing the OECD's internationally agreed tax standard on exchange of information.

Guernsey has now signed TIEAs with 19 jurisdictions: Australia, China, Denmark, the Faroes, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Sweden, the UK and the US.

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