Cosying up to China

Britain has secured investment from China worth billions of pounds.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's three-day visit to Britain has sparked a flurry of trade and investment deals between the two countries. On Tuesday alone £14bn of deals were done, with the most significant being a £12bn long-term agreement for BP to supply Chinese oil group CNOOC with liquefied natural gas.

China Minsheng Investment Corporation, the country's biggest private sector investment group, will open its European headquarters and invest £1.5bn in London. China Merchants Securities will boost commodity trading and reinforce London's position as the largest renminbi-trading centre outside Asia.

State-owned China Development Bank intends to fund the High Speed 2 rail project and the next generation of British nuclear power plants.

What the commentators said

With our foreign sales expanding faster, however, we are close to overtaking them and becoming Europe's second-biggest exporter to China. But when it comes to enticing the Chinese, the world's highest-spending tourists, into Britain, there is still a lot of work to be done, said The Daily Telegraph.

Onerous visa requirements, which are crying out for reform, explain why the Schengen area gets 1.4 million Chinese visitors a year compared to the UK's 292,999.

It's "terrific that Britain is flingingits doors open to investment" from China, said Alex Brummer in theDaily Mail, but it's rarely as easyfor British firms in China.

The legal system is opaque and heavy-handed; witness the seizure of a GlaxoSmithKline executive's passport and the lack of due process after he and his colleagues were charged with corruption. It seems"easier for Beijing to level chargesagainst foreign investors than theirown political classes who have grown rich on klepto-capitalism".

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