The UK moves to develop stronger links with China have continued with a new wave of trade deals.
The UK has been going out of its way to consolidate and tighten its bonds with China. Just a few months ago, deals worth more than £14 billion were signed during the visit of Chinese premier Li Keqiang to British shores, covering everything from oil to securities.
As China vice premier Ma Kai came to London and met chancellor George Osborne as part of the annual UK-China Economic and Financial Dialogue summit, another fresh wave of trade deals are expected to be finalised.
The deals are set to include a $1 billion (£616 million) joint venture related to an oil terminal in Malaysia, as well as a £200 million project that will develop nursing homes and new schools aimed at vocational training in China.
Britain is also willing to refund the costs of visas for as many as 25,000 Chinese visitors arriving on organised tours between 2015 and 2017.
It comes on top of a flurry of recent announcements that highlight the moves towards closeness between the UK and China – yesterday it was confirmed that the Bank of England had authorised the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China to set up a wholesale branch in the UK, although it will not be able to offer any retail services.
Coming after June saw China Merchant Securities authorised to open its first London office, that marks another step towards Mr Osborne’s dream of turning the capital into the leading offshore renminbi trading centre in the west.
In March, the UK and China signed a pact to set up a renminbi clearing service in London.
China was the UK’s seventh-biggest export market for goods last year, but with key markets in the eurozone continuing to flounder the UK is hoping that the world’s second biggest economy will become an even more significant trading partner. As the government works to rebalance the economy in favour of exports, that agenda is only going to grow.
< Top image: HM Treasury >
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