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Dealer Michael Cohen (above), chairman of the British Antiques Dealers’ Association (BADA), and chief executive Marco Forgione were invited to speak at the fourth Chinese Antiques and Artwork Auction International Forum.

The conference was due to hear how the UK trade operates via codes of conduct and vetting, alongside strict UK rules such as on money laundering, fraud and contract law.

Cohen said BADA’s “main function is to be a self-regulating body that ensures our members maintain the highest standards of expertise, quality and integrity”.

But he warned the “biggest disrupter of the trade is the proliferation of fakes, particularly fakes of Chinese porcelain. When fakes appear in large numbers the trade as a whole suffers.”

The Chinese government has already demonstrated its effectiveness in other areas of regulation. President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign launched nearly five years ago has been deemed a success, while the recent introduction of ivory trade regulation was quickly followed by the closing of 67 ivory facilities.

Cohen praised China’s “strong actions to close down its modern ivory market” while providing a “framework for the continued trade in historic and cultural relics made of and containing ivory”.

Clear and open channels

Although significant improvements are required, Forgione highlighted the importance for “clear and open channels between the UK and China”.

He added: “This is an important four-yearly international art and antiques event. It is very clear that the UK and China, as the second and third largest art and antiques markets globally, need to develop even stronger and closer links.”