Belfast Telegraph

George Osborne looks for big piece of China

By David Hughes

Chinese premier Li Keqiang will visit the UK later this month, Chancellor George Osborne revealed as he set out plans to boost trade between the two countries.

The Chancellor said he wanted the UK to be "part of the action" in increased global trade with China and in meeting its growing demand for services.

Mr Osborne also indicated there would be action to "bolster" regulation in the foreign exchange market following allegations of manipulation in the City.

Speaking at the Institute of International Finance spring meeting in London, Mr Osborne set out his ambition for the relationship with China, including London's status as a hub for dealing in the Chinese currency, the renminbi (RMB).

"China is a fantastically important part of the world economy," he said. "Britain's challenge was we weren't doing enough business in China."

He added: "I think as China reaches the stage of development it's at, some of the things the UK is particularly strong at, like banking, like insurance, pharmaceuticals, aerospace, are going to be the kinds of things that the Chinese economy is going to demand more of.

"I want us to be part of the action."

The UK had a "fundamentally great offer" for Chinese firms, he said.

"We are very open to that investment, and understand it's a two-way street – we have British investment in China and Chinese investment in Britain."

He added: "We have put a huge priority on making sure that London is the western hub for the offshore RMB."

Speaking at Westminster Central Hall he said: "I want to see more of this business. There is an opportunity in a couple of weeks' time, when the Chinese premier will be coming here."

On the foreign exchange market, he said he wanted London to be seen as "well-regulated" and "properly managed".

"There are a number of investigations into potential issues in the foreign exchange markets, just as there were issues around the Libor rate and other such rates," he said.

Belfast Telegraph

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