BYD joined British Prime Minister, Theresa May in Beijing last week (1 February), coinciding with the establishment of the China-UK CEO Council, which takes in the new energy sector among other disciplines.

The British Premier – besieged at home as bitter in-fighting rages around Brexit in her Conservative Party – escaped domestic woes to launch the high-profile initiative in China – although her visit came after those of Presidents Macron and Trump to the country.

A 50-strong high-profile UK business delegation was part of the trip which also took in the cities of Wuhan and Shanghai and was in part designed to promote the UK ahead of any potential Free Trade Deal with China once Britain leaves the European Union next year.

The British Prime Minister and her powerful delegation of the great and the good of British business may have also asked the Chinese to address the huge balance of payments difference with the UK – an uncomfortable reality with which many Western countries are familiar.

BYD founder and chairman, Wang Chuanfu attended the meeting in Beijing to unveil the new Council, which will include 15 Chinese companies covering sectors such as new energy, finance, petroleum, communications, rail transit, pharmaceuticals and real estate.

The Council is an initiative from China's Ministry of Commerce and the UK Department for International Trade, designed to deepen bilateral economic and trade cooperation.

BYD has significant interest in the UK with its vehicles accounting for 90% of London's electric bus market share and completing more than a million miles on British roads.

"We are delighted to be able to join this important initiative to boost China-UK trade links and it was an honour for us to join Prime Minister May and her delegation," said BYD Europe MD, Isbrand Ho.

"BYD's mission is to use technical innovation to improve living conditions and particularly air quality."

BYD is growing its mostly local UK team and will shortly move into a new headquarters close to London Heathrow airport. The facility will include a vehicle workshop and accessories store.

"We are in the China-UK Golden Era of trade relationships and at BYD we have pioneered the first product range - buses – which is already making a contribution to improving air quality in the UK," added Ho.

"We have other products which can help in this battle and hope to introduce them in the years ahead."

Aston Martin and Jaguar Land Rover were were also on the trip last week, with the former targetting trade and investment worth GBP620m (US$877m), as well as expanding its dealer presence to ten new showrooms by the end of this year.

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