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Thursday, June 25, 1998 Published at 15:32 GMT 16:32 UK

Business: The Company File

Clinton visit prompts China deals

US investment in China is increasing, like this Chinese Kodak factory

American companies have signed two deals worth $2bn (£1.2bn) to build power stations in China. The deals were completed just hours before President Clinton's visit to the country.

A consortium led by General Electric has agreed a $1.5bn (£900m) deal to build a 700 megawatt power plant in southern island of Hainan, while Oxbow Power Corp and Sithe Energies Inc will build and operate a 600 megawatt coal-fired plant near Wenzhou, in the eastern province of Zhejiang.

The deals were announced as President Clinton arrived in the ancient Chinese capital of Xi'an at the start of the first visit to China by a US President since the Tienamen square massacres nine years ago.

Bernard Cherry, president of Oxbow Power Group, said Clinton's visit had helped them clinch the deal: "The scheduled visit provided a focal point to encourage us to move ahead and encourage the Chinese authorities to grant the approval in a timely way."

[ image: Motorola announced a major investment very recently]
Motorola announced a major investment very recently
They expect to begin building the plant later this year, and they hope to start producing electricity to sell to the provincial utility, the Zhejiang Province Electric Power Bureau, by 2001.

The $1.5bn thermal power plant to be built by General Electric will use offshore natural gas for fuel and will be built in the Yangpu Economic Development Zone.

The plant will use turbines from General Electric Co GE.N, and the joint venture will include GE Capital Structured Finance Group and Hawkins International Inc.

Trade tops agenda

President Clinton is keen to discuss trade and business ties with his hosts, as the US believes its trading relationship with China is imbalanced.

The official Xinhua news agency claimed that China had a trade surplus of $6.93bn with the US in the first five months of 1998.

The US says China had a surplus of $50 billion in bilateral trade in 1997, though China's General Administration of Customs claims the surplus was $16.4bn.

Xinhua announced that several business deals would be signed during President Clinton's visit in areas such as electronics, aviation and environmental protection.

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