China, Britain sign deals on eve of Cameron visit

British embassy said on the eve of a visit by PM David Cameron aimed at boosting business ties.

Last Updated: Nov 08, 2010, 21:11 PM IST

Beijing: Chinese and British firms have
signed a raft of deals worth millions of dollars, the British
embassy said today on the eve of a visit by Prime Minister
David Cameron aimed at boosting business ties.

British Business Secretary Vince Cable today opened three
days of talks in the Chinese capital, the embassy said.
Cameron is expected to arrive with a major delegation of top
business leaders looking to seal lucrative agreements.

"China is a huge opportunity for UK businesses and I
would urge more companies to follow in their footsteps," said
Cable, who met Commerce Minister Chen Deming today.

"China is our ninth largest export market, but it is the
world`s second-largest economy and the potential for expanding
our partnership is huge."

Cameron has described his two-day trip to China ahead of
the Group of 20 summit in Seoul as a "vitally important trade
mission."

Since taking power in May, Cameron has vowed "closer
engagement" with China, and put "banging the drum for trade"
at the heart of his foreign policy amid deep spending cuts at
home after the financial crisis.

The contracts announced today are worth at least USD 19
million, according to the embassy statement -- a possible
prelude to what British companies hope will be a big pay-off
later this week.

They include a USD 3.8 million coal injection technology
agreement between British firm Clyde Blowers and Yima Coal
Industry Group as well as contracts worth USD 7.8 million for
architecture firm Benoy.

Trade between the two nations was worth USD 51.8 billion
last year, with Britain exporting USD 12.4 billion worth of
goods and services to the rapidly growing economic powerhouse.

PTI