News / Economy

    Britain's Cameron Visits Beijing, Pushes EU-China Free Trade Deal

    British Prime Minister David Cameron, left, chats with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang as they arrive for a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Monday, Dec. 2, 2013.
    British Prime Minister David Cameron, left, chats with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang as they arrive for a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Monday, Dec. 2, 2013.
    Reuters
    British Prime Minister David Cameron flew into China saying he wanted to lay the groundwork for a multi-billion-dollar free trade deal between Beijing and the European Union, despite growing unease about his own country's membership in the bloc.
     
    On a three-day visit with a delegation of around 100 business people, the largest-ever British mission of its kind, Cameron said he wanted his country to play an important role in China's expansion as the world's second biggest economy is talking about opening up its markets.
     
    “China's transformation is one of the defining facts of our lifetime,” Cameron wrote in Caixin, a Chinese weekly news magazine, on the eve of the visit.
     
    “There is a genuine choice for every country over how to respond. They can choose to see China's rise as a threat or an opportunity. Britain's answer is clear. We want to see China succeed,” continued Cameron.
     
    Cameron's push for an E.U.-China trade deal will irritate the European Commission, which is understood to be strongly opposed to such a move on the grounds that it risks flooding the bloc with cheap Chinese imports and comes as the bloc is embroiled in a dispute with Beijing over solar panel exports.
     
    It is also likely to be seized upon by political opponents, as he has put a question mark over Britain's continued membership of the 28-nation E.U. by promising Britons an in/out referendum on leaving the bloc if re-elected in 2015.
     
    “I now want to set a new long-term goal of an ambitious and comprehensive E.U.-China Free Trade Agreement,” Cameron wrote.
     
    “And as I have on the E.U.-U.S. deal, so I will put my full political weight behind such a deal which could be worth tens of billions of dollars every year,” promised Cameron.
     
    Cameron is expected to raise the subject in a meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Monday. His office said he was the first European leader to champion such a deal in this way.
     
    He had already discussed the idea of an E.U.-China trade deal with other E.U. member states, it added. Such a deal would address services liberalization and better intellectual property rights protection.
     
    Cameron told reporters on the plane to Beijing he was aware the idea was not universally popular among E.U. member states, but said it could be a chance to tackle Beijing on intellectual property rights and trading standards.
     
    “It'll be the normal thing in the EU which will be a discussion where there will be some skeptics. There will be some enthusiasts and I think the enthusiasts have the wind in our sails,” said Cameron.
     
    Human Rights    
     
    British finance minister George Osborne opened the door to further Chinese investment in Britain during a visit to Beijing last month, during which he announced less stringent rules for Chinese banks operating in London in a push to make the British capital the main offshore hub for trading in China's currency and bonds.
     
    He also paved the way for Chinese investors to take majority stakes in future British nuclear plants.
     
    Campaigners have often accused Cameron of putting trade before human rights. On this trip, activists want him to raise what they say are rights abuses in Tibet.
     
    A senior source in his office said before the trip that Britain had turned the page on a rift with China over Tibet, adding that Cameron had no plans to once again meet the Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader-in-exile, after their meeting last year angered Beijing.
     
    Asked on the plane whether he would be raising Tibet, Cameron was non-committal, but said nothing was “off limits” in Britain's relationship with China.
     
    As permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, Cameron said the two countries would also discuss Iran and North Korea.
     
    Cameron visited a training academy for Jaguar Land Rover sales staff in Beijing on Monday to mark its official opening as the carmaker unveiled a deal worth 4.5 billion pounds to provide 100,000 cars to the National Sales Company in China.
     
    England's Premier League is also expected to announce an agreement with the Chinese Super League to develop football in China and boost the Premier League's profile.
     
    Xavier Rolet, the chief executive of the London Stock Exchange, is travelling with Cameron.
     
    The business delegation also includes Andrew Witty, the chief executive of GlaxoSmithKline. The company was drawn into a bribery case in China earlier this year which resulted in police detaining four Chinese GSK executives.
     
    Peter Humphrey, a British man running a risk advisory group, was also detained and is still being held.

    You May Like

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    World Currencies

    EUR
    USD
    0.8954
    JPY
    USD
    110.07
    GBP
    USD
    0.6802
    CAD
    USD
    1.2932
    INR
    USD
    67.080

    Rates may not be current.