China signs US$4.3 billion deals with UK

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Chinese and British companies Monday signed $4.3 billion-worth trade deals, including a $2.46 billion agreement on building a "clean coal" plant.

China signs $4.3 billion deals with UK

Premier Wen Jiabao walks with British Prime Minister David Cameron toward 10 Downing Street in central London on Monday. [Photo/Agencies] 

The China Energy Conservation and Environmental Protection Group and British Seamwell International Ltd signed the deals as Premier Wen Jiabao met British Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday.

Two leaders signed 12 agreements and restated their desire to double bilateral trade to $100 billion by 2015 during their talks at 10 Downing Street, the official residence of the British prime minister.

British gas company BG Group signed an agreement with Bank of China that allowed for up to $1.5 billion of new funding options to support BG's growth plans, China Daily reported.

The UK poultry exports will re-enter the Chinese market, which were halted after a bird flu outbreak at a farm in eastern England in 2007, and Britain will supply breeding pigs to China, China Daily said.

The agreements will help British companies work with China in several key areas, including architecture, civil engineering, remote sensing satellite and research and development.

Analysts noted that Britain is scrambling to catch up with European rivals France and Germany in striking trade deals with China.

Cameron visited China in November, the same month that France secured contracts for French companies worth $19.1 billion.

British exports have increased 20 percent since Cameron's visit, and London is seeking deals to enable British businesses to branch out beyond Beijing and Shanghai into fast-growing regional cities.

On the issue of human rights, Wen said that the two sides need to properly patch up differences through dialogue and promote mutual understanding, Xinhua reported.

Two leaders said China and the UK also should take advantage of the cultural exchange mechanism in a bid to boost cooperation in various areas such as education, culture, youth exchanges and media.

As for international issues, Wen said China was talking to both sides in Libya because the conflict would only be resolved by Libyans themselves, adding "foreign troops may be able to win a war, but they can hardly win peace," China Daily reported.

The summit builds on Cameron's visit to China last year, which secured a range of commercial and government arrangements, including a Rolls Royce deal worth $1.2 billion.

Britain was the second leg of Wen's three-nation Europe tour, which had already taken him to Hungary. He is now in Germany.

He arrived in Berlin late on Monday and will hold a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday.

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