China is considering extensive investment in the UK, including putting money into the HS2 project and next generation nuclear power plants, China’s Premier Li Keqiang said after meeting UK Prime Minister David Cameron.
During their three-day visit to the Asian country, the UK delegation led by Prime Minister Cameron has already signed ten treaties and agreements to co-operate on issues including patents, digital media, bilateral investment, healthcare or tackling cross-border crime.
"On infrastructure, the two sides have agreed to push for breakthroughs and progress in co-operation on our enterprises in nuclear power and high-speed railway,” said Li after the meeting.
"The Chinese side is willing to not only participate but also purchase equities and stocks in UK nuclear power projects, and the UK side is open to this idea."
Li and Cameron also announced that they had agreed a £200m joint innovation and research fund to foster scientific collaborations
The UK mission to China, featuring the biggest UK business delegation ever to visit the country, marks an important milestone in China-UK business relations.
During the visit, Cameron has not only declared his intention to open the UK to Chinese investment, but also to push for a free trade agreement between China and the European Union, something most of the EU countries would resist.
"I see China's rise as an opportunity not just for the people of this country but for Britain and the world," said Cameron.
"Britain wants China to realise its dream and I believe we can help each other succeed in the global race. Some in Europe and elsewhere see the world changing and want to shut China off behind a bamboo curtain of trade barriers. Britain wants to tear these trade barriers down,” he said, stating the free trade agreement could bring tens of billions of pounds to Europe annually, some £1.8bn each year to the UK alone.
Speaking to reporters previously on his flight to Beijing, Mr Cameron acknowledged that there were "sceptics" about a free trade deal among EU members, but pointed to the "massive success" of a similar deal with South Korea as he said: "I think the enthusiasts have the wind in our sails."
He added: "Free trade agreements bring massive win-win advantages to both sides and as the leading free-trade, open, investing nation in Europe, we should be making that argument.
"I'm not embarrassed that China is investing in Britain's nuclear power and has shares in Heathrow Airport or Thames Water or Manchester Airport. I think it's a positive sign of economic strength that we are open, we welcome Chinese investment."
Ahead of his talks with Li, Cameron visited a new Jaguar Land Rover training academy for technicians, salesmen and service staff, which was about to sign a £4.5bn agreement to manufacture 100,000 cars over the next year.