By Marcus Leach

The UK and China have signed guidelines designed to boost spending on infrastructure in both countries and provide opportunities for British companies to win business.

Investment opportunities in both countries’ infrastructure was a key theme of the UK-China Joint Economic Trade Commission, which took place in Cardiff today (15 December) - the first UK-China trade talks to take place outside London. The Business Secretary, Vince Cable, chaired the talks alongside the Chinese International Trade Representative and Vice Minister for Commerce, Gao Hucheng.

Discussions focused on how British companies can be part of huge building projects such as Beijing’s planned new international airport and the construction of ports on the Chinese coast. British infrastructure firms are well placed to be involved in such projects as they have expertise in sustainable development and project management.

The UK-China Infrastructure Taskforce, the first meeting of which was held in Cardiff, will work to promote huge infrastructure opportunities that exist in each country to British and Chinese firms. The taskforce will also work to remove perceived barriers to investment.

“The UK has drawn up £200bn of spending plans over the next five years as part of a strategy to modernise infrastructure and make it fit for the 21st century," Business Secretary, Vince Cable, said.

“We want a modern, reliable and connected infrastructure that ensures Britain remains the leading destination in Europe for foreign investment.

“In the autumn statement, the Government announced plans to boost infrastructure spending by £5bn and to start right away on a number of projects. This shows we are serious about delivering the infrastructure and creating the jobs that will help lead us back to growth.

“UK companies also have the skills and experience to help China modernise its own infrastructure. Working together will help both countries prosper and deepen ties between us.”

Lord Green, Minister for Trade & Investment, also launched UKTI’s China Regional Cities report, at the event. It brings up to date the latest research on the many opportunities in cities in inland China away from the more competitive markets of Shanghai and Beijing.

An SME Forum for UK and Chinese companies took place alongside the talks, held in Cardiff Town Hall. More than 60 British SMEs, a third of them Welsh, were at the event to meet representative of more than 150 Chinese businessmen and Officials.

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