Billions worth of business deals expected

Updated 2018-02-02 11:11:02 China Daily

British Prime Minister Theresa May and her husband, Philip May, visit the Palace Museum in Beijing on Thursday. (Photo/Xinhua)

UK will help China develop technological industrial parks in Xiongan and Qingdao

China and the United Kingdom are sealing business deals worth up to 9 billion pounds (.75 billion or 80.7 billion yuan) during British Prime Minister Theresa May's visit, the Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday.

The agreements cover areas including Belt and Road Initiative development and the finance, innovation, agriculture, and science and technology sectors, ministry spokesman Gao Feng said.

The two governments have also agreed to team up in building the financial and technology zone in Xiongan New Area, about 100 kilometers southwest of downtown Beijing, and the China-Britain Innovation Industry Park in Qingdao, Shandong province.

The UK-China CEO Council, a platform for exchange and cooperation for businesses in the two countries, held its first meeting in Beijing on Wednesday. It is composed of representative companies in industries including finance, energy, automobiles, telecommunications, transportation and medicine. Fifteen companies are from China and 16 are from the UK. They include the Bank of China, Huawei Technologies, BP and Jaguar Land Rover.

"We will team up with the UK to make full use of the council and conduct in-depth discussions on the future direction and planning of bilateral economic and trade cooperation," Gao said.

Jane King, chief executive officer of the UK's Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, which is also a member of the UK-China CEO Council, offered malting barley as an example of how British and Chinese industries can help each other.

King said: "Malting barley produced in the UK has a significant quality advantage over other nations. We are open to dialogue with Chinese businesses looking for a premium and versatile product."

Bilateral trade between the two countries hit billion in 2017, up by 6.2 percent year-on-year. Last year, Britain made direct investments of .5 billion in China, and China's nonfinancial investment in the UK hit .53 billion, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

"China is a major trading partner for the UK, particularly as it is leaving the European Union, and May's visit will enhance the 'golden era' of our bilateral relations," said Li Guanghui, vice-president of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation in Beijing.

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