Britain, China ink deals worth $4 billion

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Britain and China signed trade deals worth 2.6 billion pounds (four billion dollars, 3.1 billion euros) on Monday and announced Beijing will loan a pair of pandas to a zoo in Scotland for 10 years.

The deals were signed during talks in London between Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang and British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

The agreements include a commitment by Jaguar Land Rover to increase sales in China to the 40,000 mark this year in a deal which the automaker said was worth one billion pounds.

"We had successful talks covering a range of issues, and we witnessed the signing of a number of agreements, including commercial deals with an estimated contract value of at least 2.6 billion pounds," Clegg said.

In another deal, BP and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation signed an agreement on deepwater exploration in the South China Sea.

The talks also covered international security and climate change "in which the UK and China work closely together", a British government statement said.

It was also announced that China will loan a breeding pair of giant pandas -- named Tian Tian and Yuangguang, which translates to Sweetie and Sunshine -- to Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland for 10 years.

The move "will boost research, conservation and tourism in Scotland and the UK", the statement said.

Li, who is widely tipped to become Chinese premier next year, also met Prime Minister David Cameron for talks on Monday, the second day of his visit to Britain after he spent Sunday in Scotland.

Britain is scrambling to catch up with European rivals France and Germany in winning trade deals with China.

Li has also visited Spain and Germany on his trip.

© 2011 AFP

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