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British firms searching greater China presence

British prime minister David Cameron is leading a high profile delegation on his maiden visit to China with the hope of helping British companies ramp up trade with China, according to the UK Telegraph.

The UK mission comes hot on the heels of a similar mission led by French President Nicolas Sarkozy last week which secured deals worth EURO15 billion (NZD$26.5 billion).

More than 40 executives from Britain’s biggest companies, including Alliance Boots, Virgin, Shell and Barclays are accompanying British ministers in the hope of leveraging high-level political backing to increase their presence in China.

Although China is the world’s second largest economy with an enviable 10% economic growth rate, its trade with Britain remains disappointingly small, with UK exports China totalling just GBP7.7 billion (NZD$15.74 billion) in 2009, the report said.

Britain is hoping to capitalise on business opportunities thrown up by China’s massive program of urbanisation and infrastructure investment as well its growing consumer and services sectors.

Sources in Beijing said the three days of official meetings would focus primarily on trade issues, including breaking down China’s trade barriers. Prime minister Cameron will also have to decide how to address growing international concerns over China’s human rights record. -- Source: UK Telegraph