British Constructors Join Beijing Bid Hope

As Beijing awaits this July's vote on its bid for the 2008 Olympic Games, British construction firms have expressed strong interests in investing in, designing and constructing sports facilities if the capital city succeeds in its bid.

This was revealed during a press conference yesterday in Beijing, by a senior British official heading a mission of 12 leading representatives from British infrastructure and construction industries, during their five-day tour of China.

"We are seeking opportunities in China. British firms have been behind a number of the world's most spectacular design and engineering achievements, such as the Channel Tunnel which was completed in 1994 and a major stadium for the Sydney Olympic Games," said Beverley Hughes, parliamentary under-secretary of state and minister of construction.

In addition to Beijing's Olympic bid, the country's pending entry into the World Trade Organization and the ongoing development of its western regions will create even more opportunities for foreign investors, said Hughes. "We are here to meet those opportunities."

"Besides design and management skills, my contracting and consultant colleagues have expertise in areas such as value-added engineering and services, energy efficiency, intelligent buildings and environmental solutions, which are of particular interest in China," said Hughes, who is the first member of the British government, responsible for construction and infrastructure, to have visited China in five years.

The Ministry of Construction signed on Monday a formal Memorandum of Understanding with Hughes's department to renew a pledge first made by the two ministries in 1996 to work together in the areas of construction and urban development.

"Britain is the largest European investor in China, with US$16 billion in investment committed. We want to keep that record," said a spokesman from the British Embassy at China.

(China Daily 03/28/2001)

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