Record-breaking trade deals to be signed during president's trip

Updated: 2015-10-21 07:46

By Zhong Nan(China Daily USA)

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China and the United Kingdom will sign a number of economic and trade deals covering finance, energy, healthcare, automobiles and real estate during President Xi Jinping's ongoing visit to the country, the Ministry of Commerce said on Tuesday.

The size and value of the deals will be the largest in history during Chinese leaders' state visit to the country, said Shen Danyang, the ministry's spokesman.

Shen said the deals will include cooperative projects between Chinese and British companies, banks and research institutes.

The UK's demand for improving infrastructure is expected to become a new highlight for Sino-British cooperation, Shen said.

"As China is promoting the Belt and Road Initiative and the British government has made plans to develop its northern region, these initiatives will offer market growth opportunities to project contractors," said Shen.

The Belt and Road Initiative, proposed by China in 2013, is a trade and infrastructure network that includes the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. The planned network connects Asia, Europe and Africa and passes through more than 60 countries and regions.

Known as High Speed 2, the British high-speed railway is planned to link London with the English Midlands and cities in northern England. Construction for Phase 1 of the projects is set to begin in 2017, with an indicated opening of 2026. The UK government also plans to add nuclear power stations and industrial parks in northern England over the next decade.

Shen said Chinese companies have a good record carrying out infrastructure work such as airport and water treatment projects in the UK, and the Ministry of Commerce will continue to encourage Chinese and British companies to conduct more cooperative activities in each other's markets.

The UK was the first developed nation to join the China-proposed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, to issue renminbi-denominated sovereign bonds and to support the inclusion of the Chinese currency in the International Monetary Fund's Special Drawing Rights currency basket.

Trade volume between China and the UK reached $58 billion between January and September this year. Bilateral trade in 2014 amounted $80.9 billion in 2014, up 15.3 percent year-on-year.

Companies from the UK invested a total of $19.61 billion in 7,992 projects by the end of August in China. As China's top destination for investment in Europe, China's outbound direct investment to the UK surged from $1.35 billion in 2010 to 12.8 billion in 2014.

Chinese enterprises launched 112 projects in Britain last year, creating nearly 6,000 local jobs.

Stephen Phillips, chief executive officer of China-Britain Business Council, said that as China is promoting the modern service industry and undergoing an industrial upgrading boom to develop high-end products, British companies are keen to deploy more resources to China to develop energy-saving, modern service and equipment sectors from a long-term perspective.

Founded in 1953, the council is responsible for promoting trade, investment, innovation and technological cooperation between China and the UK. It has 13 regional offices throughout China.

"While China is conducting an all-around reform to improve its export capability, the UK is also undergoing structural reform to cast off its heavy dependence on the financial service sector. The two nations share a common interest and their demand for growth are quite complementary," said Cui Yanxin, a researcher at the Beijing-based Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation.

Record-breaking trade deals to be signed during president's trip

(China Daily USA 10/21/2015 page8-9)