Britain, China agree need for deficit cuts: statement

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Britain and China agreed on the need for "fiscal consolidation" to shore up the global economic recovery, Downing Street said Saturday, after the two nations' leaders met ahead of a G20 summit.

Chinese President Hu Jintao and Britain's new Prime Minister David Cameron shared the view that reducing deficits was "of vital importance."

The G20 summit, which brings together leaders of the world's richest and emerging economies, is expected to debate issues including how fast countries should cut deficits, with different economies in different conditions.

The US fears that acting too quickly could imperil the global recovery, while other nations especially in Europe want quick action, concerned by signs like Greece's sovereign debt crisis.

"The leaders agreed on the vital importance of current efforts to secure the global economic recovery including through fiscal consolidation," Downing Street said in a statement released afterward.

The two countries also agreed to boost bilateral trade, it added.

In comments to reporters after their first face-to-face meeting, Hu hailed Cameron's willingness to build a stronger relationship with China and invited him to visit China in November, an invitation which has been accepted.

Cameron's coalition government, which took power last month, has spoken of the importance of building stronger relationships with emerging economies such as China.

Speaking through an interpreter, Hu said Cameron had called him on his second day in office, "signalling his readiness to make a stronger relationship" with China.

"This fully shows the great importance the new government of the UK and particularly yourself assign to the relationship with China. We highly appreciate that," Hu said.

Cameron's visit to China will come en route to the next G20 summit in Seoul. He said: "I attach a great importance to the relationship between Britain and China and it's a relationship I want to oversee myself.

"I look forward to our strategic dialogue."

His coalition's program for government speaks of working for closer ties with China while standing firm on human rights issues.

© 2010 AFP

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