BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 18 January 2008, 22:43 GMT
China open to UK business - Brown
Gordon Brown and Premier Wen Jiabao
Gordon Brown and Premier Wen Jiabao inspected a guard of honour

Gordon Brown has told the BBC there is a "huge opportunity" for British businesses in China, on his first visit to the country as prime minister.

He said trade was not "one way" - while Britain would import more goods, it would export its financial services.

He and Chinese premier Wen Jiabao have agreed to boost trade by 50% by 2010. Mr Brown has also offered China 50m to help the country tackle climate change.

Opposition leaders have urged the PM to raise the issue of human rights.

Speaking to reporters after talks in Beijing, the two leaders confirmed they had agreed a joint target of increasing two-way trade to $60bn (30bn) over the next two years.

'Biggest market'

Mr Brown also said he wanted Britain to be the "number one destination" for Chinese businesses to invest - and hoped 100 new Chinese companies would invest in the UK by 2010.

Later he told the BBC: "It's not one way, there are imports into Britain but we are selling China banking, services, financial services, luxury goods, environmental technology, sports goods - a whole range of things."

China must both address its own human rights record and uphold the values of the United Nations
Nick Clegg
Lib Dem leader

"Yes, we will see more low-cost manufacturing done outside Britain, but yes also we have got the skills, the ingenuity, the high-value added goods and products that we can now sell to what is the biggest consumer market in the world."

He said China "has got to take a step forward" on climate change and said he had discussed the matter in talks with the Chinese premier.

"He takes seriously the problem of climate change, he's not denying it's a problem, he knows action has got to be taken and now the debate is how much China can do, and how much other countries have got to do as well."

The 50m in aid Mr Brown has promised the Chinese to help tackle climate change will fund technology to boost energy efficiency as well as increase the use of clean coal and carbon capture systems.

The prime minister is due to visit Taiyang Gong Power Station, which recycles its own heat sources to produce hot water, on the outskirts of Beijing on Saturday.

Business leaders

Mr Brown is being accompanied on the trip by more than 20 leading British and European business figures including Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson and CBI Director General Richard Lambert.

Trade between China and the UK was worth an estimated $40bn (20.2bn) last year.

HAVE YOUR SAY
We have no right to dictate how the Chinese run their country
Stephen Ash, Cardiff

The Chinese government has said the PM's trip is intended to bring a "new vitality" to relations.

But Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg said Mr Brown should not "shy away" from raising the issue of human rights - particularly those in Darfur - with China, which has strong political and economic ties with Sudan.

"China must both address its own human rights record and uphold the values of the United Nations," he said.

"It can no longer turn a blind eye to the grave human rights abuses continuing in countries like Sudan," he said.

Olympics preparations

Conservative leader David Cameron, who visited China in December, has also urged the country's leaders to use their influence in Sudan to "help stop the slaughter in Darfur".

Darfur did feature in talks with Premier Wen on the first day of Mr Brown's visit, with the two leaders calling for an immediate ceasefire and a lasting peace settlement, but the main focus was economic matters.

During the three-day trip Mr Brown will also discuss preparations for this summer's Beijing Olympics.

Mr Brown heads to India later this week where he will announce plans to train 750,000 English teachers there over the next five years.

VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Gordon Brown meets the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao



SEE ALSO
Chinese students on Gordon Brown
18 Jan 08 |  UK Politics
UK and China sign e-learning deal
24 Sep 07 |  Education
China names new foreign minister
27 Apr 07 |  Asia-Pacific

RELATED BBC LINKS

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific