Cameron and Cable in China

November 10, 2010 5:00 PM

Prime Minister Cameron has just completed his first historic official trip to China, along with his business secretary Vince Cable, his Minister for Education Michael Gove and Minister for the Environment, Chris Huhne. We understand that an estimated £2b of deals were signed over the course of 2 days and these range from sale of Rolls Royce engines to collaboration on training of Mandarin teachers and transfer of green technology and strategies for tackling climate change.

The mainstream press had been keen to point out that Cameron had the sensibilities of his hosts at heart, careful not to criticise China on her human rights record in public but chose to mention sensitive topics such as Liu Xiao Bo in private conversation instead. However artist Ai Wei Wei of the sunflower seeds fame currently exhibiting at the Tate Modern, exhorted the PM to be more vocal on these issues.

However the main objective of the visit was to open up business opportunities for Britain and on that score the delegation had certainly succeeded. Merlene Chair of Chinese Lib Dems said in an interview with Spectrum Radio:

"I am pleased to see that British exports to China have increased in the last year, at the same time China has become the 2nd largest country for inward investment into London after the US. There is still more potential for closer ties. This is most timely given the current economic climate, and the new money coming from China will be very welcome indeed and should be directed into creating new jobs and opportunities for our young people."