UK Minister: 'No Bias' against foreign investors

Updated: 2011-12-17 18:40

By Cecily Liu and Zhang Haizhou (


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CARDIFF – Britain "has no bias" against foreign investors in "any sector", British Minister for Trade and Investment Lord Stephen Green said when asked about his views of Huawei's failed efforts to provide mobile signals to London underground earlier this year.

Saying he doesn't know the detail of the case, Green told China Daily: "But there is no bias against foreign companies in any sector of the British economy. Britain is the most open country in the world for foreign direct investment."

Back in February, Huawei, the leading global telecommunications solutions provider, was reported to have made an offer to provide telecoms equipment as part of a partnership with UK mobile phone operators.

The British government finally rejected the offer, which was worth up to 50 million pounds ($80 million), over "spying fears", because the Chinese firm was accused of "having military links", according to British media reports at the time.

Ren Zhengfei, founder and CEO of Huawei, was formerly a member of the People's Liberation Army.

Green's made the remarks, on the sideline of the UK-China Infrastructure Task Force's first meeting, when Chinese investors are trying to enter the UK's infrastructure sector.

"There are good opportunities in infrastructure sector of the UK for anyone who wants to invest with a long term predictable rate of return," said Green.

Britain "needs a lot of investment" and the British government has "ambitious plans for investment on transport, water, broadband, energy and waste treatment," he said, adding "all these are areas where the regulatory framework in Britain is such that there are good opportunities to invest on stable and predictable basis for long term rate of returns."

The country has a £200bn infrastructure plan over the 2010-2015, which the government can only contribute £5bn up to 2015, then a further £5bn in the next Parliament, relying on the private sector to make up the rest.

"Britain wants to open up competitions coming from different countries in the world, so our consumers would get the best value for money," Green said.

He said Chinese are not the first, as Britain has already "plenty of foreign investors", from the Middle East and Canada for example, in infrastructure.

"China has plenty of opportunities and this is clear from the experience of others," Green said.