The PM, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and other ministers have been joined by 50 British business and education leaders as part of a drive to increase trade between the two countries.
Writing in the Wall Street Journal today, Mr Cameron said:
[The trip will] provide a further step forward in UK-China relations, adding momentum to our commercial relationship and cementing an economic and political partnership that can help to deliver strong and sustainable growth and greater security for us all in the years ahead.
On this visit alone, Britain is set to sign new contracts worth billions of dollars involving companies across the UK and cities all over China.
Mr Cameron was welcomed by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao at the Great Hall of the People, where he inspected an honor guard before commencing the formal summit.
Over 40 specific agreements dealing with trade, low-carbon growth and cultural and education initiatives are expected to be signed over the course of the two-day trip. Deals already agreed include £750 million for Rolls-Royce to supply and service jet engines for China Eastern Airlines and the construction of 50 new English language schools by Pearson.
Such agreements will “help take Britain’s relationship with China to a new level”, said the Prime Minister.
Further highlighting the opportunities for British companies in China, the PM made an earlier visit to a Chinese branch of Tesco in south Beijing. The British food chain is planning to invest £2 billion in China as it expands from its existing 99 stores in the country.
Other issues being discussed at the summit include addressing global economic imbalances; the need for the completion of the Doha round of World Trade Organisation talks; progress on low carbon growth; and education co-operation.
During the trip he also announced the names of the Coalition Government’s new Business Ambassadors, who will promote the UK’s excellence in overseas markets.
Following today’s summit, the PM will meet President Hu Jintao tomorrow at a business event, before travelling to South Korea for the G20.