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China's PM Wen Jiabao set to sign £1bn UK trade deal
Published on: 2011-06-27
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British business hope to sign deals worth more than £1bn when the Chinese prime minister Wen Jiabao meets David Cameron at Downing Street later.

Mr Wen, who is on a three-day visit to the UK, has already said he wants to welcome more UK products to China.

On Sunday he visited the Longbridge MG car plant, where he faced a small human rights protest.

Downing Street said there was potential to create more jobs and investment opportunities for British businesses.

The two leaders are expected to sign an agreement to help UK companies work with China's regional cities, in architecture, civil engineering and research and development.

British poultry farmers are being allowed to export to China and the visit is expected to see agreements reached for the supply of pigs.

'Rapid rise'

Chancellor George Osborne and Foreign Secretary William Hague are due to join Mr Cameron for the talks and Mr Wen is accompanied by other senior members of the Chinese government.

They are also likely to discuss improving cultural and educational relationships between China and the UK and global issues such as international security and climate change.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said: "China's rapid economic rise is good news for the UK. It means more money flowing into our economies and has the potential to create more jobs and investment opportunities for British business at home and in China.

"The summit will be an opportunity to tap that potential and to continue to work closely with China to find global solutions to a range of issues from climate change to global security."

It follows Mr Wen's visit to Longbridge and to Stratford-Upon-Avon - the Chinese premier is a lifelong fan of William Shakespeare.

He is also believed to be leading a Chinese bid for work on the HS2 high-speed rail line between London and Birmingham.

'Partners for growth'

The BBC's diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus says Downing Street sees the summit as an opportunity to cement UK-China relations as "partners for growth."

He says the target is £1bn worth of bilateral trade by 2015.

The deals set to be announced on Monday will go some small way towards narrowing the trade gap with China.

British exports have increased by 20% since Mr Cameron was in Beijing last November.

Our correspondent says Mr Cameron hopes to see an agreement to enable British business to branch out beyond Beijing and Shanghai into fast-growing regional cities.

There are also plans to establish a new "people-to-people dialogue" on a broad range of cultural matters.

But concerns about human rights in China will inevitably come up too, with Britain stressing that respect for human rights under the rule of law is an essential pre-requisite for China's long-term prosperity and stability.

 

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