Boris And Osborne In China To Push Trade
The Chancellor and the Mayor of London will announce a raft of deals during separate trade visits to China, including a partnership to develop Manchester Airport.
Shortly after his arrival, George Osborne said 'Airport City' - five million square feet of land next to the airport which will become retail, office and manufacturing space - would be built in conjunction with Beijing Construction Engineering Group.
"£800m of investment; 16,000 new jobs; one of the biggest developments since the Olympic games, and I think it shows our economic plan of doing more business with China and also making sure that more economic activity happens outside the city of London is working," he told Sky News.
"That's good for Britain and is good for British people."
Similar projects in Amsterdam and Frankfurt have proved successful and eased congestion at other airports.
Alongside the commercial strands of his visit, the Chancellor will also hold governmental meetings with his Chinese counterpart Ma Kai, the first face-to-face bilateral ministerial contact between the UK and China for over a year.
The UK has been in the political dog house with China since May 2012 when David Cameron and Nick Clegg chose to meet and be photographed with the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet.
The meeting enraged Beijing given the controversial claim China holds over Tibet.
Asked by Sky's Dermot Murnaghan about the conflict between China's human-rights record and forging stronger business links with the country, Boris Johnson said his job was to promote the interests of London.
"My job as Mayor is not to have a foreign policy but to get on and promote the interests of the greatest city on earth which is what we're doing," he said.
"There are many interesting foreign policy problems around the world I could get involved in, whether or not that would improve global hopes for a resolution, I have my reservations.
"This is not the reason I'm here in China. I think we can respectfully move on to the real agenda which is intensifying links between London and China."
Mr Osborne is travelling with the UK Trade Minister Lord Green, City Minister Lord Deighton and the Minister for Science and Innovation, David Willetts.
With them are executives from a variety of British technology companies who will try to showcase the best of Britain's digital technology industry in China.
The delegation will hope the trip allows UK companies to gain access to the rapidly expanding Chinese market.
"The Chinese economy is changing," Mr Osborne said.
"Those who think it is just a low-wage, low-tech economy are making a mistake.
"It is becoming a cutting edge player in industries like technology and this is a huge opportunity for Britain."
The Chancellor will lead the delegation to the Shenzhen-based headquarters of Huawei, the world's largest telecommunications manufacturer, and TenCent, the world's third largest gaming and social media firm.
Huawei's growing footprint in Europe and America has caused controversy, with some suggesting that Chinese involvement in Western telecoms firms poses a security risk.
Despite that, Huawei has already pledged to invest £1.3bn in the UK's broadband network over the next four years.
Mr Osborne's visit is a clear endorsement of the company.
Diplomats point out that inward Chinese investment to the UK in the last 18 months has been greater than the past 30 years combined, despite the row over the Dalai Lama meeting, for which the UK has refused to apologise.
The London Mayor's trip is separate but the broad objectives are the same.
Mr Johnson is travelling with the chief executives of several large companies including Justin King of Sainsbury's and Marc Bolland of Marks & Spencer.
He will spend three days in Beijing, where he will visit a UK brands fair, take a ride on the subway and attend a private meeting with China's richest man, Wang Jianlin, whose company Dalian Wanda is investing heavily in the Nine Elms area of London.
Mr Johnson will then travel to Shanghai before ending his trip in Hong Kong.
Both men are effectively cashing in on the thawing of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
By the end of the week, they hope to have signed a variety of deals, forged new relationships and facilitated meetings between UK and Chinese firms.