Financial News

  • 18 June 2014, 13:20

China Talks Secure £14bn In Trade Deals

Commercial deals worth £14bn have been signed between the UK and China after David Cameron held Downing Street talks with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

Speaking at a news conference following the discussions, Mr Cameron hailed the strong trade links between the two countries, saying they were "central" to Britain's economic future.

"Today we have signed deals worth more than £14bn, securing jobs and long-term economic growth for the British and Chinese people," Mr Cameron said.

"Ours is truly a partnership for growth, reform and innovation."

The Chinese leader has been accompanied by a delegation of more than 150 business leaders and top-level Communist Party officials for his UK visit.

The visit is the first by a Chinese leader in more than three years.

Mr Li was given a guard of honour and an audience with the Queen at Windsor Castle, in a move which angered critics of China's record on Human Rights and political freedoms.

Campaign group Free Tibet had written to Buckingham Palace requesting the meeting with the Queen be cancelled.

Britain's Deputy Prime Minister also used unusually direct language and risky timing to describe China's people as being "politically shackled to a doctrine which is a one-party state, a communist state".

"Of course we can't agree on large scale and systematic human rights abuses which still continue in China to this day: the many journalists who are persecuted, the very widespread use of the death penalty," Nick Clegg said at his weekly press conference on Monday.

Mr Clegg added that despite these concerns, he hoped to have "very productive discussions" with the Chinese leadership.

His comments were said by members of the Government to be "not very helpful".

The commercial deals, which Sky News understands have been under negotiation right up until the last minute, were expected to†cover trade and investment across a variety of sectors including energy, transport, finance, health and education.

China's sovereign wealth funds could help to finance major British infrastructure projects including the HS2 high speed rail link and the next generation of nuclear power stations. China is understood to be putting its largest share of European investment into the UK.

Britain's two biggest oil companies are unveiling deals - with BP confirming a Sky News exclusive of a contract to supply liquefied natural gas, saying it would be worth £12bn over 20 years.

An arm of the World Bank is to list the first "green bond" denominated in China's currency in London.

Britain has also announced a new streamlined visa service for Chinese travellers.

The UK is not part of the visa agreement which allow overseas visitors to travel to twenty six countries in Europe which means that 90% of Chinese tour operators say they leave the UK off their itinerary every year.

The visa application process will now be simplified, allowing tourists to apply using the same form as other European countries. Chinese visitors will also be able to use an Irish visa to travel to the UK.

China's growing middle class and the rebalancing of its economy from export to domestic consumption also presents Britain with huge opportunities.

British fashion giant Burberry opened its largest Asian store in Shanghai in April. The company's China strategy has helped boost global revenues.

In the automotive sector, Jaguar Land Rover has seen staggering success across China with 130 dealerships in 90 cities. The company is now Indian-owned, but the cars are made in the UK.

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