News story

Chancellor to kick off week-long China tour

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne aims to strengthen UK-China relations during a week-long tour starting this weekend.

UK and Chinese flags
Image: iStock

The Chancellor is to set out plans to foster a new era in UK-China relations as he launches a concerted bid to deepen ties with the world’s second largest economy.

Starting this weekend he will embark on a week-long tour that is set to encompass thousands of miles across China and comes after a period of turbulence in Asian stock markets.

The Chancellor will argue that far from backing away from China after the events of the summer, Britain aims to increase cooperation and understanding between the two countries and open up billions of pounds of potential opportunities between what remains the world’s fastest growing major economy and the UK.

It also continues the Chancellor’s longstanding drive to forge greater links with the Asia-Pacific region, which saw the UK become the first western member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank only a few months ago.

Mr Osborne will take a top tier business and Ministerial delegation on the trip, making stops in Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu.

Joined by Lord O’Neill, the Commercial Secretary to the Treasury and a leading expert on the Chinese economy, the Chancellor is expected to meet with senior ministers from the Chinese government as well as senior Chinese business leaders from a variety of sectors.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid, Energy Secretary Amber Rudd, Communities Secretary Greg Clark, Minister for Small Business Anna Soubry and City Minister Harriett Baldwin will attend parts of the tour.

The centrepiece of the visit will be the official UK-China Economic and Financial Dialogue in Beijing.

The Chancellor will also take a senior delegation from the North of England to ensure that his vision to build a Northern Powerhouse becomes a reality.

He will be joined by civic leaders including the Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, the leader of Manchester City Council, Sir Richard Leese, Julie Dore, the leader of Sheffield City Council and Trafford Council Leader Sean Anstee.

Companies from the North of England will also form a significant proportion of the business delegation accompanying the Chancellor.

During the visit, the Chancellor will also be celebrating the strong cultural links between the UK and China with several major new announcements. He will be joined by a raft of the UK’s most renowned cultural leaders including the Director of the British Museum Neil MacGregor, the Executive Director of the National Theatre Lisa Burger and Sir Tim Smit, founder of the Eden Project.

Ahead of the visit, the Chancellor today (Friday 18 September) met Vice Premier Liu Yandong in Downing Street.

Chancellor George Osborne said:

I want us to forge closer economic and cultural links with China.

Our partnership for growth, reform and innovation is helping to deliver record levels of investment and trade in both directions, but there is much more we can do.

This trip is all about exploring new opportunities to open up new markets to benefit both economies.

Key facts

  • China’s contribution to world GDP has risen from below 2% in 1990, to almost 15% in 2014

  • Chinese GDP growth officially slowed to 7% in the first half of 2015. However, even with slower GDP growth this year, China will represent around a quarter of global growth

  • China’s outward direct investment has tripled since 2005. And on current trends China will triple its stock of ODI by 2020 making it the world’s second largest (well behind the US) outward investor

  • The UK’s FDI stock of $11.8bn in 2013 was the largest in Europe, more than France and Germany combined

  • China accounts for 3.6% of UK exports. China is the UK’s 6th biggest goods export market

Published 18 September 2015