British PM seeks "much stronger" China relationship

8th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

British Prime Minister David Cameron said Monday he wanted to forge a "much stronger relationship" with China ahead of a business-boosting visit to the Asian superpower.

"This is a vitally important trade mission," the British leader said before the two-day trip, which begins on Monday.

"Our message is simple: Britain is now open for business, has a very business-friendly government, and wants to have a much, much stronger relationship with China."

The Conservative party leader will head Britain's biggest ever delegation to China with finance minister George Osborne and business secretary Vince Cable accompanying 50 business leaders on the visit.

Cameron will meet President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao in Beijing and talks are expected to cover trade, education, energy and the economy.

Bilateral trade between the two nations was worth 51.8 billion dollars (36.8 billion euros) last year with Britain exporting 12.4 billion dollars worth of goods and services to the rapidly growing powerhouse.

"China represents the biggest source of demand in the world for many of the products that we in the UK have to offer," Cable said.

"This brings a huge increase in opportunities for UK firms given that they are globally competitive in services, advanced manufacturing and engineering, life sciences and creative industries."

Britain sees its high-tech expertise as a potential key to unlock the lucrative Chinese market as it struggles to pull itself out of a period of sluggish growth.

On the eve of the trade visit, Cable signed an agreement to allow the export of British breeding pigs to China. The deal is expected to net the British pig industry around 45 million pounds (72.8 million dollars, 51.8 million euros).

© 2010 AFP

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