China says it wants to back major UK infrastructure projects and has signed £14bn in trade deals. The news comes on the first full day of a visit by its leader.
The BBC reports the projects the state-owned China Development Bank (CDB) wants to invest in include High Speed 2 and the next generation of nuclear power stations. Another deal is expected between BP and China National Offshore Oil Corporation worth about $20bn (£11.8bn). That will run over 20 years.
CDB has signed a memorandum of understanding with TheCityUK. The agreement will encourage CDB lending in the UK as well as trading in China’s currency, the renminbi, which will open up trade opportunities in China to British businesses. The memorandum is part of the announcements made by David Cameron and Premier Li Keqiang on Tuesday afternoon on closer Sino-UK commercial relations.
British Prime Minister, David Cameron, said: “The UK is the most popular destination in Europe for Chinese investment with more Chinese investment into the United Kingdom in the last eighteen months than the whole of the last thirty years combined.”
The memorandum has been brokered by Sir Gerry Grimstone, chairman of TheCityUK. The oil giant will supply its Chinese peer with liquefied natural gas (LNG), BP chief executive Bob Dudley said at a conference in Moscow. Mr Dudley said the deal would be signed in London.
“It is a 20-year supply agreement on LNG. It is a fair price for them and a fair price for us. It is a good bridge between the UK and China in terms of trade,” Mr Dudley said. BP already supplies CNOOC with LNG from Indonesia.
Meanwhile, the UK’s MAP Environmental and and China’s ZN Shine Solar have entered into a joint venture to purchase, develop, and manage £400m of UK solar panel assets.The project will involve a three year construction programme in conjunction with some of the UK’s largest engineering and construction contractors.
Sir Gerry said that his discussions with CDB revealed that they were focused on three specific sectors.
“They are interested in nuclear, high speed rail and telecommunications,” he said. “High Speed 2 was one of the things they specifically mentioned in the meeting. Knowing the finance is available is an important part of any project. This is an important development.”