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Overseas Trade: China

Volume 478: debated on Thursday 26 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps he (a) has taken and (b) plans to take to increase trade between the United Kingdom and China; how much his Department spent on trade promotion between the United Kingdom and China in 2007-08; and if he will make a statement. (209099)

The information is as follows.

(a) My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform joined my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister at the January 2008 UK-China Summit with Premier Wen in Beijing, where a new bilateral trade target was agreed of $60 billion trade in goods and services by 2010. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State also attended a parallel business summit, with accompanying business matching event—the first large joint initiative arising out of a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding signed in June 2007 to help promote more balanced bilateral trade between the UK and China. My right hon. Friend also visited Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China on 4-6 June to meet influential business and government leaders, and to promote the strengths of UK business.

(b) My right hon. Friend is expected to lead a business delegation to Beijing this autumn to discuss market access issues and practical initiatives to promote bilateral and more balanced trade at the next meeting of the annual bilateral Joint Economic Trade Commission.

UK Trade and Investment spent £3.213 million on trade promotion in 2007-08, including £1.7 million in grant in aid to the China-Britain Business Council.