UK and China agree £14 billion of trade

Brit China

£14 billion of trade and investment deals have been signed between UK and Chinese firms as the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met Prime Minister David Cameron during a visit to the UK last week.

The annual UK-China summit takes place just 6 months after the Prime Minister’s visit to China and with bilateral trade at record levels – up by 8% overall in 2013. UK exports to China have more than doubled since 2009, and are growing faster than our French and German competitors. Last year UK exports to China averaged more than £1 billion each month.

The UK is the most popular European destination for Chinese investment, benefitting from over £8 billion in 2013/14 alone, creating or safeguarding over 6,000 jobs in the UK.

Trade and investment deals announced 

Trade and investment deals announced during the UK-China summit include:

•  BP and the China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) signed an agreement worth £12 billion on the supply of liquefied natural gas. The deal will see BP supply CNOOC with 1.5 million tonnes of gas per year over the next 20 years.

•  China Minsheng Investment Corporation (CMI), China’s largest private sector investment group – with capital of $8 billion – announced today that it will open its European HQ in London with an investment of around £1.5 billion. Investments will cover a range of sectors including financial services, advanced technology, offshore engineering, new energy, and environmental protection.

•  MAP Environmental Ltd and Z N Shine Solar entered into a joint venture to purchase, develop, construct and manage £400 million of UK solar PV assets. The project will involve a 3 year construction programme in conjunction with some of the UK’s largest engineering, procurement and construction contractors and the on-going maintenance will run for up to a further 20 years. The project will generate up to 50 new UK jobs in design, administration and operation roles with a further 500 new UK jobs in construction and maintenance created over the period of the contract.

•  China Merchant Securities (CMS), China’s third largest securities firm in terms of net capital, opened its first London office which has been authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority today, creating at least 40 new UK jobs in its initial stage. CMS will increase the volume of commodity trading in London and play a significant part in the internationalisation of the Chinese currency Renminbi (RMB), reinforcing London’s position as the second largest offshore RMB trading centre.

One of BP's LNG carriers
One of BP’s LNG carriers

Speaking at the press conference for the UK-China summit, Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“This government is committed to implementing our long-term economic plan and to turning our country around. We are starting to see that plan bear fruit. I’ve always said that a key part of that plan is linking this country up to the fastest growing economies on the planet and China is central to that.

In the last few years we have made a huge difference and built a much stronger bilateral trading relationship between our countries. The figures tell the story – bilateral trade at record levels, our exports to China up 15% in 2013, they have more than doubled in the last 5 years and at £1 billion a month, they are growing faster than France or Germany.

These figures prove once again that Britain is the most open economy in the EU, the most welcoming to Chinese investment including in our nuclear industry and our infrastructure and I’m determined to keep it that way. The UK will continue to stand for opening up trade in the EU, for progress towards an EU-China trade deal, and for free trade within the G20 and the WTO.

Today we have signed deals worth more than £14 billion, securing jobs and long term economic growth for the British and Chinese people. Ours is truly a partnership for growth, reform and innovation.”

Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

There has been more investment into the UK from China in the last 18 months than in the previous 30 years. Our country’s brand is recognised around the world and the Chinese have an appetite for high quality British goods and services.

I led a business delegation of ambitious UK companies to China just a few weeks ago, opening doors for British business and helping to lay the groundwork for deals to be signed today.

Trade Minister Lord Livingston said:

UK exports to China are growing faster than our French and German competitors with exports almost doubling since 2009 – reaching more than £1 billion per month.

The UK is also the most popular European destination for Chinese investment. Inward investment is running at record levels, creating thousands of jobs for British workers.

Today’s announcements show the huge potential to increase business with China and I encourage any company that wants to export to contact UK Trade & Investment. press release
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