China and UK to sign deals worth at least $30 bln next week

The deals would cover a range of sectors, including energy, education and finance

China and UK to sign deals worth at least $30 bln next week

World Bulletin/News Desk

China and Britain will sign business deals worth at least $30 billion next week during a visit to London by China's Premier Li Keqiang, the Chinese ambassador to Britain said on Friday.

"The total value may be record-breaking," Liu Xiaoming, China's ambassador to Britain, told a news conference in London, saying that over 40 separate agreements whose total value was at least $30 billion would be signed.

The deals would cover a range of sectors, including energy, education and finance, he added. "This visit is a priority to China and the UK. Expectations are very high," he said, saying Li would be joined by over 200 Chinese business leaders.

The two sides will discuss possible Chinese investment in Britain's planned HS2 high-speed rail network linking the north of England with London and in its nuclear sector, he said. There will also be banking deals.

Li will meet with British Prime Minister David Cameron at his London residence on June 17, a reciprocal visit following the British leader's trip to China last year. Li will then travel to Greece for a visit.

Heathrow Airport

China also wants London's Heathrow airport to expand its capacity so that Chinese airlines can introduce more flights between China and Britain, China's ambassador to Britain said on Friday, saying he had written to the government about the issue.

Speaking ahead of a visit to London next week by China's Premier Li Keqiang, the ambassador said the lack of capacity was a problem for three Chinese carriers who wanted to increase the number of slots they had.

"We'd like to see an increase in capacity in Heathrow airport," Liu Xiaoming, China's ambassador to Britain, told a news conference in London. He said the British government had told him the airport, the world's third busiest by passenger numbers, had reached capacity.

"We expect Heathrow will have a third runway," he said.

British lawmakers and business leaders have identified the lack of new airport capacity as a possible drag on economic growth and agree that the country urgently needs new runways. But the idea of adding them in London is unpopular with many voters, who worry about noise, pollution and safety.

Britain's Airport Commission is due to make a final recommendation on where and how to expand London's airport capacity by next summer.

Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited is co-owned by Spanish infrastructure firm Ferrovial, its largest shareholder with a 25 percent share. Partners include Qatar Holding, China Investment Corp. and the Government of Singapore Investment Corp.

Last Mod: 13 Haziran 2014, 17:19
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