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British Colombian Chamber of Commerce

On October 19, the Colombian Congress approved an $81.3bn budget for 2018. This budget has increased by 1% from last year 233.1 trillion pesos budget. On October 24, the Ministry of Finance of Colombia released an adjusted 2018 budget. The full presentation in Spanish here. The 235.5 trillion pesos plan is the final budget for the administration of President Juan Manuel Santos who will leave the office in August 2018. The sectors that will benefit most from the plan are education (37 trillion pesos) and defence (31 trillion pesos). Additionally, the government will spend 2.4 trillion on post-conflict projects in order to continue the implementation of the peace deal with the FARC rebel group reached in 2016.

International tourism on track for a record year

Demand for international tourism remained strong during the Northern Hemisphere summer peak season as international tourist arrivals in July and August totalled over 300 million for the first time according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. Many destinations reported double-digit growth, in particular in the Mediterranean.
Between January and August, destinations worldwide welcomed 901 million international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors), 56 million more than in the same period of 2016. This corresponds to a robust 7 per cent increase, well above the growth of previous years. With upbeat prospects for the remaining months of the year, 2017 is set to be the eighth consecutive year of continued solid growth for international tourism.

Building Strong Financial Ecosystems

Hong Kong can help manage investment risks along the Belt and Road, says former senior IMF official Zhu Min. China’s Belt and Road Initiative offers an economic growth solution to counter sluggish global growth, according to Dr Zhu Min, President of the National Institute of Financial Research at Tsinghua University and former Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). At a recent presentation hosted by the Asia Society Hong Kong Center, Dr Zhu discussed how the development plan can help spur global growth, with Hong Kong playing a central role in mitigating investment risks in Belt and Road projects. 

CBBC and Azoya jointly release white paper on China's e-commerce market

This white paper looks at the key opportunities and challenges that retailers need to be aware of before entering China’s dynamic online retail market. It also includes a useful checklist that pinpoints the practicalities involved in establishing a successful cross-border sales channel.

Chinese consumers’ increasing appetite for overseas products has provided international retailers with a wealth of opportunities. Products “from the UK” are among the most popular items that Chinese shoppers want to buy. Young people, in particular, are passionate about learning about new brands that best describe their unique tastes and lifestyle.

Cross-border e-commerce is facilitating this international shopping boom. Chinese shoppers no longer need to leave their home in order to purchase foreign products, and by selling online UK retailers can avoid the complicated registration processes involved with exporting to China via general import or setting up a bricks and mortar store.

China Biotech Special Interest Group

The China Biotech Special Interest Group (SIG) has been set up with the China-Britain Business Council (CBBC), and supported by the Department for International Trade (DIT), to provide a discussion platform for BIA and CBBC members in the Biotech sector, exploring the opportunities for business growth in and with China, via trade and investment.

CBBC Insights | China’s Explosive New Energy Vehicles Market Primed for Growth

The development of New Energy Vehicles (NEVs) has picked up speed following the announcement from a number of countries that the sale of traditional ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) vehicles will be phased out over the next couple of decades. The UK and France announced in July 2017 that the sale of new diesel and petrol cars will be banned from 2040, and that diesel and petrol vehicles will be taken off the road altogether by 2050; with cleaner electric or hybrid vehicles taking their place. India and Norway quickly followed suit with an even earlier date set for 2030.

UK Export Finance - Export Success in the East of England!

UK-Turkey Business Forum

When & Where: October 2nd, 2017, Mansion House, London

A forum on current opportunities for UK businesses in Turkey, at the occasion of the 130th anniversary of the establishment of the British Chamber of Commerce in Turkey. 

RSVP: Please send an email to events@bcct.org.tr 
Please note: places are limited and come on first come, first served basis.

Joint UK-German call to put shared economic interests first in Brexit negotiations

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), and the Association of German Chambers of Commerce (DIHK) have called for UK and EU negotiators to put a clear focus on our shared economic interests as Brexit talks reconvene in Brussels.

The leading German and UK business organisations are challenging political leaders to build an atmosphere of mutual trust and constructive dialogue, to deliver clarity and certainty for trading businesses across Europe.

With the third round of Brexit negotiations underway, a number of business-critical areas that form part of the withdrawal agreement are yet to be resolved, including the rights of EU workers in the UK and UK workers in the EU27. Additionally, there are hundreds of practical and technical issues, including customs arrangements and tax procedures, that need to be negotiated as part of the future EU-UK relationship during later stages of the negotiations. Businesses in both the UK and Germany want to see talks move on to these fundamental issues – and particularly customs concerns – as soon as possible.

There is great uncertainty in the business community all across Europe. A DIHK survey has found out that the business outlook of companies that are engaged in trade with the United Kingdom is worsening, due to the expectation of cost burdens from limits on free movement of workers, taxes, tariffs and increasing bureaucratic hurdles at Europe's new borders negatively affecting business on both sides.

Meanwhile, respondents to a recent British Chambers of Commerce survey have expressed their preference for a substantial transition period, with 68% saying they seek a transition period of at least three years. Both German and British businesses also want clarity at the start on the overall shape of the final destination settlement.

The United Kingdom is the third-largest market for German goods exports; in turn, Germany is the UK’s second-largest goods and services exports destination. German companies maintain about 2,500 branch offices in the UK, which employ nearly 400,000 workers. British companies have 1,200 branch offices in Germany, which employ about 220,000 workers.

Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said:

“As Brexit talks continue, it’s clear that companies in the UK and on the Continent all want economic issues to rise to the top of the negotiations agenda. There is real business appetite from both sides for a focus on practical, day-to-day business concerns, and a desire for clarity on future trading arrangements.

“The UK and the EU must begin work on transitional arrangements, particularly on customs, so that firms on both sides of the Channel have the confidence to make investment decisions.

“Chambers of Commerce in the UK and in Germany want to see thriving trade continue between our firms, both now and into the future. Politicians must do everything in their power to help this happen.”

Dr Martin Wansleben, Chief Executive Officer of the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK):

“Businesses are very concerned that Brexit will have a major negative impact. Not only it could lead to more trade barriers – additional bureaucracy, increased waiting time and stricter border controls resulting in higher costs. The terms of exit are still completely unclear. Many of our members are reporting that they are already shifting investments away from the UK in anticipation of these barriers.

“The first effects of the Brexit vote are already being observed: German exports to the United Kingdom were down by 3 percent in the first half of this year compared to the first half of last year, whilst exports to the EU increased with 6 percent in the same period.

“A transitional period would be helpful for business, but it is important to businesses on both sides that the contours of a future trading relationship are becoming clearer over the next months.”

British and Finnish Chambers in joint call to minimise potential Brexit trade barriers

On the occasion of the visit of a high-level Finnish business delegation to London, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), and the Finnish Chambers of Commerce (Kauppakamari) are jointly calling for UK and EU negotiators to minimise trade barriers - and prioritise shared economic ties beyond Brexit.

There are strong commercial links between the UK and Finland: the UK imports £2.6bn of goods and services from Finland, and exports £2.7bn of goods and services to the country.

Science and Innovation are areas of very active cooperation between the two countries, with the UK and Finland working closely together on life sciences, digital, and low carbon technologies. There are a number of partnerships between the two countries, many of which are facilitated by the EU Horizon 2020 strategy.  

The future of these projects, the long-term ease of trading between the UK and Finland, as well as the future status of Finnish nationals in Britain and British nationals in Finland, are all questions where British and Finnish businesses want negotiators to deliver clarity as soon as possible. 

Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said:

“As we welcome our Finnish colleagues to London, the vibrant trade links between our countries are yet another reminder of the importance of reducing any possible future trade barriers between the UK and the EU.

“Businesses want to minimise the risk to free-flowing trade with partners like Finland, and to avoid the creation of artificial new barriers that stop companies collaborating across boundaries. The on-going Brexit negotiations must seek to provide businesses with clear answers on practical issues including customs procedures, health and safety checks, and tax rules - and guarantee the status of nationals resident on either side. 

“The links between innovative British and Finnish businesses are an important reminder that the Brexit negotiations must also deliver a framework for future collaboration between the UK and the EU on science and innovation."

Dr Risto Penttilä, CEO of Finland Chamber of Commerce, said:

“The UK has been one of Finland’s strongest allies in promoting free trade and pragmatic reforms in the EU. The objective of the Brexit negotiations must be a European wide market that includes the UK, Switzerland and the EEA countries.

“Brexit must not lead to new obstacles or increased costs for companies from the UK, Finland or other EU countries. The UK is one of our most important trading partners, and a strong British economy will benefit both Europe and Finland.

“The Brexit process has reached a point where committed political leadership is needed both in the UK and the EU. Businesses, as well as citizens, need a clear roadmap for the years to come to ensure a smooth transition.” 


If you would like to learn more about any of the news please contact Rachel Cornes