UK's Cameron seeks to double trade with China

Updated: 2010-11-09 09:10
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LONDON - British Prime Minister David Cameron said he was aiming to double bilateral trade with China to more than $100 billion a year by 2015 as he was due to arrive in Beijing on Tuesday at the head of a major trade mission.

Cameron, who is making his first official visit to China since taking office in May, said he wanted British exports to China to account for $30 billion of that sum.

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Britain exported 7.7 billion pounds ($12.4 billion) in goods and services to China in 2009, while imports were 25.4 billion pounds - a yawning trade deficit with the world's second largest economy.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Cameron also called for progress on the Doha round of world trade talks. Cameron's 36- hour visit to China comes ahead of a G20 summit in South Korea later this week.

"Next year has to see the deal done, and that means action now," Cameron wrote of the stalled trade talks. Britain sees a trade deal as a way of kick-starting growth when budgets are tight and monetary policy options limited.

Cameron will focus on fostering trade ties during his stay in China but he said the two countries wanted to work together.

Cameron is heading Britain's biggest ever trade delegation to China, more than 40 business leaders seeking deals to fill order books while the government cuts spending at home.

A number of deals have already been announced including measures to boost sales of Scotch whisky and allow the import of breeding pigs into China.

Cameron said he hoped deals worth billions of dollars would be signed during the visit.

He said British companies had also secured $5 billion worth of business as part of a deal signed by China with Airbus in France last week.

Leading British retailer Tesco plans $3 billion of investment to build new shopping malls in China over 5 years.

Educational publisher Pearson also announced plans on Tuesday to open 50 new English language centres in China, creating up to 2,000 jobs.