By Marcus Leach

The Minister for Trade and Investment, Lord Green, and the Commercial Secretary to the Treasury, Lord Sassoon are co-sponsoring a conference aimed at securing Chinese inward investment in major infrastructure projects at the Emirates Stadium today (Tuesday).

The conference is a key milestone in UK-China infrastructure co-operation, and is being opened by FCO Minister Jeremy Browne.

“I am pleased to welcome Chinese investors here today to discuss opportunities to invest in the UK’s infrastructure," Minister for Trade and Investment, Lord Green said.

"With over £200 billion of investment required over the next five years, we are keen to encourage overseas investors to help deliver these improvements.

“This is an important next step in our partnership for growth with China. UK firms can contribute their expertise to China’s rapid infrastructure development, whilst Chinese investment will help the UK’s economic recovery.”

The conference takes forward the strategic direction set by Prime Minister Cameron and Premier Wen during the UK-China Summit in June and builds on UK/China Economic and Financial Dialogue in September, during which a Memorandum of Understanding on Enhancing Co-operation on Infrastructure was signed, establishing a UK-China Infrastructure Task Force.

“Today’s event is a concrete follow up to the Economic & Financial Dialogue. The Chinese asked us to provide more clarity on specific opportunities, and this is exactly what we are doing," Commercial Secretary to the Treasury, Lord Sassoon, added.

“Investment in core infrastructure is vital to growth for the UK’s medium-term future — driving competitiveness and supporting sustained growth.

"We will shortly be publishing the next iteration of the National Infrastructure Plan, which will identify priority UK infrastructure opportunities in sectors including transport, energy generation, transmission, communications and water.”

Delegates attending the conference include a number of UK developers with a pipeline of projects, who are actively looking for investment partners.

China-UK inward investment fact file

Summary:

Whilst, in percentage terms, Chinese FDI stock in the UK, was less than 1% of the UK total (UK£653 Billion), the levels of FDI flows suggest Chinese inward investment is growing fast. (Source: ONS)

Key Indicators:

FDI Stock (Value): By the end of Aug 2010, Chinese FDI stock into the UK was US$1.13 billion. (Source: Mofcom)
FDI Flows (Value): Chinese FDI Flows into the UK were UK£110million in 2009. Source: ONS (latest flow figures).

Company Activity: Today the UK is home to over 400 Chinese companies including SAIC, China Mobile, China Telecom, Huawei, ZTE and Changan, a significant investor in the automotive sector. We are in fact Europe's leading recipient of investment from China and we see more and more Chinese companies investing here every year. In the last three years(2008-10) Chinese companies have committed to over 50 R&D collaboration projects with a further 50 in the pipeline.

FDI Project Flows: By project flows, China is currently the 7th largest investor in the UK by number of projects, with 1,471 jobs associated with Chinese investment. Source: UKTI Inward Investment results 2010/2011

Relative Performance: The UK ranks alongside Germany as the largest European investor in China (US$16.9 billion in cumulative terms by August 2010) and as the leading European recipient of Chinese investment (US$1.13 billion, by August 2010). Source: MOFCOM.

The UK is the number one location for European headquarters, more overseas companies set up their European headquarters in the UK than anywhere else, giving them easier access to the 27 member states of the European Union, one of the world's largest single consumer markets with a population of 500 million.

Relative Proposition: The UK is one of the easiest places to set up and run a business. The World Bank found that it takes just 13 days to set up a business in the UK, compared to the European average of 32 days.

It ranks the UK as the third in Europe, and sixth in the world, as the easiest place to operate a business. (Source: World Bank Doing Business)

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