Business and Trade – in the House of Commons on 18th May 2023.
Whether her Department has provided recent guidance to companies negotiating contracts with Chinese-owned businesses.
Our bilateral trade with China was worth £111 billion last year. The Department provides expert guidance to help UK companies succeed in China, ranging from specialised support through the export support service to practical assistance from our extensive overseas network. We will continue to support engagement, while ensuring our national security and values are protected.
This House has voted to recognise the genocide by China. This House has passed legislation to limit companies doing business in Xinjiang and to restrict Chinese companies getting involved in sensitive UK infrastructure projects, including Hikvision, which has over a million security cameras in this country and just reported an increase in sales in this country of more 50%. What message does it send when a UK trade Minister, from the Minister’s team, goes to Beijing, feting Chinese Ministers for Chinese investment in the UK, as if the golden age of UK-China relations was still a thing?
My hon. Friend raises many important points, but the key thing is that the relationship with China has been laid out recently in the integrated review, the integrated review refresh and in the Foreign Secretary’s speech, and we have made it very clear that we need to balance our trading interests with our national security interests, for the very reasons that my hon. Friend outlines.
What are the Government doing to ensure that the genomics data of British businesses held by British genomics companies that then trade or do deals with Chinese companies, such as BGI Genomics, is protected? Is it not somewhat naive, given the terms of the national security law, to think that GDPR alone is sufficient protection?
Through a variety of mechanisms and across multiple Departments, the Government give advice to companies investing overseas. In terms of dynamics the other way around, the Investment Security Unit carefully analyses investment in the UK, particularly relating to acquisitions in 17 sensitive areas. We are very careful at analysing and we will continue to keep a close eye on those two-way relationships.